Could your hormonal imbalance be linked to your gut?

Balance

Are your hormones playing with your emotions, body, or saneness? Do you feel all is right in the world one minute and the next you wish the world would end? Do you lose a couple of pounds only gain 3 overnight for no reason? If so, these symptoms may indicate that there is hormone disruption. Estrogen excess can occur in men and women. Symptoms of estrogen excess are many but here are a few common ones.

Symptoms of Estrogen Excess:

Fluid retention

Tender breast tissue

Enlarged breast tissue

Mood swings

Abdominal bloating

Heavy Menstrual bleeding (females of course)

Weight gain unexplained

Food cravings

 

Estrogen Detox Simplified:

Estrogen is like the “Goldilocks” hormone – we need not too much and not too little. Estrogen needs to get in, do its work at the cell, and then get out. Excessive estrogen as mentioned above can play havoc on our bodies and minds. So how can excess estrogen be linked to the gut?

Estrogen is detoxified by the liver and eliminated at least partially via the gastrointestinal tract. Poor gut and liver function will result in the accumulation of estrogens in the body. There can be an increased risk for sex oriented cancers if estrogens are not metabolized in a healthy fashion. There are 3 pathways in which estrogens are metabolized in Phase I detox pathways – 2-OH estrogens, 4-OH estrogens, or 16-OH estrogens. Metabolism via the 2-OH pathway seems to be more protective than the other pathways. Healthy liver function enhances the 2-OH pathway.

After estrogens have cleared phase I detox they are then further detoxified by Phase II pathways which makes estrogens water soluable and non-reactive. This pathway relies heavily certain vitamins, minerals, healthy gut bacteria, and fiber. If the gastrointestinal tract is inflamed or has imbalanced bacteria, the phase II pathway will not work properly and estrogens will be reabsorbed and recirculated.  This recirculation of estrogen can then lead to the symptoms of excess estrogen.

The gut is further involved in estrogen detox via elimination. If chronic constipation is an issue, estrogens will not effectively be removed from the body.

So how can we help ourselves to detox estrogen more effectively? Improving gut function and decreasing liver burden are essential to creating a healthy estrogen balance. The most effective way is to work with a functional medicine practitioner to help you assess your hormonal profile, detox pathways, and gastrointestinal profile. This is done through functional lab testing via blood, urine and stool. However there are 4 things you can do right now to help.

4 Tips for Improving Estrogen Excess

  1. Proper diet for the gut. Eat a diet high in fiber, phytonutrients, adequate (but not too much) protein, and high quality fats. Foods such as wild caught salmon, grass-fed meats, veggies, fruits (esp berries), avocados, olive oil, ghee, raw nut and seeds, cacao, bone broths, and green tea. Fermented foods such as kim-chi, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut can promote the healthy bacteria.  Remove processed, refined grains, sugars, artificial sweeteners, and inflammatory omega 6 oils such as canola, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, corn, peanut, and soybean oil. These foods promote inflammation in the gut and alter the healthy bacteria in the colon.
  2. Decrease the liver burden. You can greatly help phase I and phase II detox pathways of estrogen by decreasing the amount of toxins that the liver has to combat. Avoid toxic personal care products, buy organic when possible, do not heat foods in plastics, do not drink hot beverages out of Styrofoam, and use green cleaning products in your home. A good resource for you to check your products is the Environmental Working Group at EWG.org. They have a list of foods which are best to buy organic, non-toxic personal care products, and non-toxic cleaning products. Here is the skin care that I use and also have in my store. Another way to improve the toxic burden on the liver is to detox in other ways such as sweating (via exercise or sauna) and ensuring adequate elimination via urination (stay hydrated) and regular bowel movements.
  3. Stress management. Stress management is imperative for healthy digestion and elimination. Stress can release hormones that are damaging to the intestinal lining and to the liver. Digestive processes are greatly altered by stress hormones. The brain and the gut share the same hormones so whatever the brain is experiencing the gut is too. Mediation and prayer have been shown in numerous studies to improve digestive function and hormonal patterns. There are numerous resources available to help with mediation such as Head Space App, Pacifica, and Omvana.
  4. Supportive Supplements. Supplements are a great way to assist in detoxifying harmful estrogens. Products containing DIM, calcium d-glucarate, green tea extract, magnesium, turmeric, and B vitamins are very helpful in aiding the clearance of estrogens. This is the product that I use which has greatly helped me with my estrogen balance.

Employing a full body approach to balancing hormones is essential. Simply taking a supplement but eating a standard American diet will not achieve the results you want. Start with the tips listed above and you will have more success with feeling and looking your best.

If you are interested in working with me one on one to assess your gut function and hormone status, click here to become a patient.

 

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