OK ladies this ones for you, let’s chat estrogen. Many of the women who venture into my clinical practice suffer from something called estrogen dominance, it’s talked about more than any other estrogen issue and it’s fixable. But what about the rest of the equation?
We never hear anyone talk about specific bacterial genes called the estrobolome and they are a pretty big deal seeing as they produce an essential enzyme that helps metabolize estrogen. In plain english…. your gut is a part of the elimination system needed to get rid of excess hormones in the body, like excess estrogen. Nowadays it seems everyone is talking about the gut, gut bacteria, gut health and probiotics. Well it’s for good reason, especially when it comes to regulating and balancing your hormones.
Back to estrogen dominance- one of the main causes is a malfunctioning microbiome, among a few other contributing factors of course. It’s a vicious circle, we consume foods that mess with our microbiome, we are under stress which messes with our microbiome and in turn our adrenals, which affects our thyroid… This is why in my practice I don’t focus on just one issue, we treat all the supportive systems.
Infertility, low libido, PMS, cramps, heavy bleeding, moodiness, PCOS and so much more have all been linked to a poorly functioning microbiome. Of course in order to fix the microbiome you need to also look at your adrenals and thyroid function. We can’t fix one without the other(s) as they say.
Stress, household chemicals, poor diet and lack of sleep can all play a role in knocking the healthy balance of bacteria completely out of whack. When the bacteria is off, we end up with a toxic build up of bad bacteria, excess hormones and of course systemic inflammation. Research is showing that when we treat the whole picture (holistically) we get our immune system back on track, digestive system back to functioning and our endocrine system back to working order.
Some of the signs that help identify gut dysbiosis:
- funky shits (your poop just isn’t right)
- foggy brain
- frequent illness from colds to yeast infections
- weight-loss issues
You might be wondering why weight loss is on that list. Your gut flora is linked to our digestion, our appetite and our feeling of satiation (feeling full). Some of the studies show that obese, overweight and diabetic patients all have something in common – they have a less diverse gut flora. Not to worry though, as we lose the unhealthy weight our body starts to regulate and rebalance our gut flora (we need to help it along of course).
A healthy gut flora is needed to break down fats and sugars, and to help transport them out of the body. Unfortunately if you are living in western civilization maintaining a healthy gut flora is going to take a little work. Chuck the white shit, conventional dairy for most of us doesn’t work so get it out if you are one of the ones who cannot tolerate it. IF you can tolerate it then switch over to goat or sheep dairy, something easier to digest and be sure you are consuming products not laced with harmful crap like hormones, antibiotics, GM feed… (this article is also for my US friends, just so those in Canada know the rules are slightly different here…). Get rid of the sugar and try to go low carb, gluten free. Now not all gluten is created equal but in my world what’s the point. It’s basically nutrient void so why bother?
Eat fermented foods, I like to refer to them as functional foods. I’m a huge fan of sauerkraut, kimchi and of course anything salt brine fermented. A little goes a long way, I like to add a spoonful with my meals, you really don’t need much to get the benefits. WHile I do enjoy kombucha I utilize it as a treat not a functional food. Be careful with commercial brands, check the sugar content.
Please take a TRUSTED probiotic, I cannot stress the word TRUSTED enough. I personally only recommend Natren, most of the others are garbage (but that is a whole other post).
Speaking of do’s let’s tackle some don’ts.
Birth control is one of those things that needs to go, it damages your microbiome just as much as antibiotics. Not only does it mess with the gut flora it also adds to issues of weight gain and insulin sensitivity, especially when prescribed for those who suffer PCOS. For all things PCOS I like to tell people to check out my dear friend and colleague Melissa Ramos, boss lady over at Sexy Food Therapy and creator of the Sexy Lady Balls program, if you aren’t following her already you are going to want to. Recent research has linked the pill to increased risk of Crohn’s disease as well so that is something else to take note of given the rise in this condition.
Antibiotics are another factor that will alter the gut flora balance so be sure to only take these when necessary and also re-inoculate with a good probiotic. These specifically damage your estrobolome and since it takes less time for harmful (bad) bacteria to build back up they tend to take over and the good guys take a back seat.
In the end we can do everything right and if we are not managing our stress levels we are not going to get full results. Stress kills our microbiome along with throwing hormones out of whack and thyroid health out the window. Hello weight gain! That visceral fat around our midsection, the stuff we affectionately want to refer to as our muffin top, thats cortisol (our stress hormone) and unless you manage your stress and take care of your adrenals it isn’t going to go away no matter how hard you workout or how well you eat.
A great read is Missing Microbes by Dr Martin Blaser, loads of info that will shed light onto what may be happening within your body.
For the nerds out there like me who like to see the research I’ve attached a link to check out the research I referred too.