The gut protects us against germs, breaks down food to release energy, produces vitamins and balances hormones
In recent years there has been a lot of talk in the media about the importance of our gut. The exciting news is that the gut balances hormones. In the gut we depend on a vast army of microbes to stay alive, these make up the microbiome. This microbiome protects us against germs, breaks down food to release energy, produces vitamins and balances hormones.
How does the gut balance our hormones?
Your microbiome is as powerful, if not more powerful than all your other endocrine glands put together when it comes to balanced hormones. This is because it plays an important role in hormone balance. The microbiome produces and secrets virtually every hormone that the body utilises. It also regulates the expression of these hormones and can inhibit or enhance the production of certain hormones in the body. Who knew!
This means that If you don’t look after your microbiome you won’t get very far if you are wanting to balance your hormones.
Serotonin the happy hormone
There are a lot of new studies to show that Serotonin (the neurotransmitter) is largely produced in the gut, in fact 90% is made in the digestive tract. Serotonin is a master regulator of the communication between the gut and the brain. Serotonin alters our mood, and is known as the happy hormone. It also affects our parasympathetic nervous system as well as our ability to sleep and relax. Serotonin influences our gut motility which is how well our gut moves. Symptoms of indigestion and constipation can be due to reduced Seretonin levels which can spiral into mood and sleep issues if left unaddressed.
Research has proven that people with depression also have gut issues. In fact, depression often precedes gut issues. For example you may get food poisoning or take a course of antibiotics and this may upset the gut flora. This can then lead to depression because of the serotonin depletion.
Dopamine the other hormone that helps us feel happy
The gut also produces the neurotransmitter Dopamine which also helps people to feel happy. Without Dopamine production, it is hard to get satisfaction from the things you do. The body requires Dopamine to motivate you to do things that make you happy. When Dopamine is too low due to an upset Microbiome, it’s hard to get that feeling of reward. Then nothing feels good and you just want to sit at home, curl up and isolate yourself.
Gut bacteria is responsible for making Dopamine. At the same time, the gut is responsible for making norepinephrine which is a stress hormone. It triggers the flight or fight response in the body. Ecoli and Salmonella, for example, are both infected organisms that can be found in the gut. If you have high levels of these bacteria you will also have high levels of norepinephrine and this will lead to you always being in the flight or fight response. That’s where a random feeling of anxiousness can come from. In many cases, these anxious feelings are simply due to an overgrowth of these bad bacteria in the gut and the subsequent high levels of norepinephrine.
The gut and fertility hormones
When it comes to the hormone Oestrogen. There are 3 different forms:
The microbiome produces all 3 forms of oestrogen as does the sex organs but what is fascinating is a healthy microbiome will produce more Estriol. It will produce more Estriol than any of the other forms of oestrogen. What’s interesting about that is that its often ignored in medical literature. This is because its the weakest of the 3 forms of oestrogen, therefore, it is often discounted.
However, Estriol is key to how your body is dealing with oestrogen and balances hormones in general. Estriol has a great capability to be weak meaning it doesn’t induce the oestrogen dependent cancer imbalance and oestrogen dominance issues. Yet it still gives you the benefits of oestrogen ie; less menopausal symptoms, aids lubrication and reduces osteoporosis/bone loss.
So if you want the microbiome to produce more Estriol to balance the other forms of oestrogen in the body then the other important factor is Estrobelome. Estrobelmome is a collection of enzymes produced by microbes within the gut that break down oestrogen and helps metabolise them. Estrobelome makes sure you don’t build up too much oestrogen in the body and end up with an imbalance.
Without adequate Estrobelome, you will end up in an oestrogen dependent hormonal dysfunction. This is because it plays an important role in clearing unwanted oestrogen out of the body.
What can you do to help your Microbiome?
We all have the right microbe strains within us, it’s just a matter of allowing those strains to proliferate. The way to do that is re-conditioning the gut to favor a bigger diversity of microbes. I recommend taking the supplement mega spore as it will help recondition the gut to suppress the unfavorable microbes and allow for the re-growth of the good ones. It will also reduce inflammation in the gut, so it’s ideal to take if you suffer from conditions like Endometriosis or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. You can also include plenty of fermented foods in the diet. Why not make your own kombucha which is a fermented probiotic drink.
The microbiome both produces Progesterone and signals to your body to produce more of it. In addition, when it comes to the thyroid, a low diversity of microbes in the gut is correlated with a high production of the hormone stimulating hormone (TSH). So a happy gut helps the thyroid and support progesterone production.
Research being carried out by London university have found that a single dose of 600mg Augmentin (a broad spectrum anti-biotic) reduced the gut microbiome content by a staggering 90% and that’s just one dose, most people take a 5 day course when they are given Antibiotics, so imagine how much damage that is doing to your microbiome. Although the microbiome will bounce back following a course of antibiotics the problem is that following the antibiotics it comes back with a different PH balance which means that the good bacteria are less able to grow, upsetting the natural balance. Don’t forget to look after your gut as it balances hormones beautifully!