The Link Between Gut Health And Hormonal Balance
Our endocrine system is responsible for creating and releasing hormones such as thyroid hormones, melatonin, progesterone, estrogen, cortisol and testosterone.
Our gut is constantly sending signals to our brain through the gut-brain axis and this then affects our nervous system.
The nervous system then affects the endocrine system, turning on certain hormones such as stress hormones and shuts down others such as progesterone, thyroid etc.
When more stress hormones are produced, it begins to ramp up certain parts and lower other parts of the immune system. Think autoimmune based disorders, allergies and chronic inflammation.
This then affects the brain signals, which then causes more hormones and so you’re literally locked in a vicious cycle of inflammation!
GUT HEALTH AND ESTROGEN
Estrogen does not only affect women, men should also make sure they have just the right amount of it.
Our microbes produce an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase that can increase levels of free estrogen circulating in the blood.
We have a specific group of microbes called estrobolome, which consists of bacteria that are capable of metabolising estrogens.
When our gut is healthy and balanced, the estrobolome regulates the correct level of estrogen in our body but if it’s imbalanced, then it can either produce either too much or too little estrogen.
Endometriosis, PCOS, breast cancer, and prostate cancer are all estrogen-related diseases and that is why gut health is so important.
GUT HEALTH AND MELATONIN
Melatonin is that hormone that makes you fall asleep and keeps you asleep throughout the night. People that have issues with sleep generally have an issue with melatonin as well.
Apart from that, melatonin is now known to play several beneficial roles. These include being an antioxidant, an anti-depressant and helping to produce human growth hormone, a type of hormone that is vital for growth and cellular regeneration.
Serotonin (the “happy” hormone) is needed to produce sufficient melatonin and 90% of serotonin is produced by the bacteria in your gut!
GUT HEALTH AND PROGESTERONE
Our gut can influence stress and mood through its communication with the vagus nerve and neurotransmitter release.
Elevations in cortisol (stress hormone) will affect estrogen and progesterone.
Estrogen, progesterone and cortisol all come from pregnenolone.
When the adrenal glands produce more cortisol in response to chronic stress, the body has to re-distribute the pregnenolone that was meant for making sex hormones to instead make cortisol.
So now estrogen and progesterone are put “on hold”.
GUT HEALTH AND TESTOSTERONE
If you have increased intestinal wall permeability (leaky gut syndrome), you will get toxins, bacteria and yeast spilling into your blood stream.
This leads to lower testosterone levels because it will affect its production in the testes.
GUT HEALTH AND THYROID
There is a lot of data showing that a strong thyroid–gut axis exists.
A large part of thyroid function depends on a sufficient supply of healthy gut bacteria to convert T4 to T3.
Inflammation also has a huge impact on thyroid health. An imbalance between good and bad bacteria as well as leaky gut triggers systemic inflammation in the body. Inflammation will affect the way your brain sends messages to your thyroid to produce thyroid hormone. This will then lead to low TSH and low T4.
We shouldn’t forget either that 80% of your immune system is located in the gut.
WHAT TO DO
If this doesn’t show how important gut health is, I don’t know what does!
You can’t work on anything else until you fix your gut, you really need to work on fixing your microbiome and healing the gut wall first.
It’s not a complex process but a probiotic alone will not be the answer and sometimes it makes the situation worse.
Even though it is not an overnight thing, you can heal your gut over a period of 3 to 6 months. My GI Protocol is the perfect way to do that because it works on all possible issues that might be affecting the gut in 3 key ways by using a very specific and science-based method!
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