Dr Iwona Pogoda explains why gut health is important for your hormones
We are constantly learning about the importance of good gut health.
When I was a medical student the gut was considered to be a long pipe whose function was to transport and digest food - what a simplistic model this was!
Over the years our knowledge has been growing and we are still discovering what is going on in the gut. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, used to say “all disease begins in the gut “ and he could not have been more right. Now the gut is considered to be one of the most fascinating organs in our body.
You may have heard the expression that "our gut is our 2nd brain". Our gut communicates with our brain via the Vagus nerve which is part of our parasympathetic nervous system. It also produces serotonin - our happy hormone.
Also, as I have mentioned in my video:
(https://www.facebook.com/TheNaturalPractice/videos/242330196844436 <https://www.facebook.com/TheNaturalPractice/videos/242330196844436>) about 70% of our immune system is actually located in our gut.
Many factors influence the health of our gut: what we eat, our stress level, how we sleep, specific health conditions and medications we take.
We have a trillion microorganisms living in our gut playing different functions affecting our absorption of nutrients, our immunity, our metabolism and even our mood.
Today I want to introduce you to your ESTROBOLOME.
ESTROBOLOME is part of the Microbiome with a very specific function: it influences the metabolism of oestrogen, hence regulates the level of circulating oestrogen.
Conversely, various hormones can affect our Estrobolome. During our reproductive years we produce 3 different types of oestrogen: Oestrone E1, Oestradiol E2, Oestriol E3. The Estrobolome affects the balance between these different hormones and this actually modulates various disease risks.
When our Estrobolome is in imbalance (called gut dysbiosis) this can lead to the development of various symptoms and even to chronic illness. Certain bacteria produce beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme which converts oestrogen in the gut to an active form and allows for its recirculation, raising its level. There is emerging research that acne, headaches, weight gain, mood swings, irregular periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, low libido, painful lumpy breast, endometriosis and even breast cancer can be associated with Estrobolome dysbiosis.
SO HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT YOUR HEALTHY ESTROBOLOME?
- Avoid taking unnecessary antibiotics and if you do consider taking probiotics as well.
- Reduce alcohol consumption.
- Avoid exposure to xenoestrogens -compounds mimicking natural oestrogen (eat organic when possible, avoid plastic utensils, avoid cosmetics containing parabens, phthalates, fragrances.
- Eat a hormone balanced diet - predominantly plant based foods rich in dietary fibre; prebiotics (garlic, bananas, asparagus); probiotics; fermented food (kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut) and most importantly cruciferous vegetables which support a healthy detoxification process (cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli ). They contain indole 3-carbinol which inhibits beta-glucuronidase activity allowing oestrogen to be metabolised and excreted instead of being recirculated.
- Exercise for good hormone health. I can’t stress enough the importance of exercise. My advice is to find an exercise which works for you and enjoy it!