Hormones and the gut – there is a connection!
By Vicky Leonard, Founder of Be Gut Happy
Teenage years, the post-natal period, and the menopause; these can all be difficult stages for us women. But is there anything we can do to ease the struggles of each stage?
I think there is, thanks to research on the topic of a healthy gut microbiome and hormones. Gut health is my passion, so I was delighted to investigate this further and if you’d like to know more, read on!
So, what are hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers produced by your glands that are secreted directly into your blood. They are then carried to the organs and tissues of your body to carry out their functions. They are also something your partner may think he knows a lot about! I have been known to blame a few things over the years on ‘my hormones’!
In females, the main sex hormones are oestrogen and progesterone. The production of these hormones mainly occurs in the ovaries, adrenal glands and, during pregnancy, the placenta.
So, what is your gut microbiome?
There is a lot of talk about gut health at the moment and rightly so. Your gut microbiome is made up of trillions of microorganisms. These microorganisms, which mainly comprise of bacteria, otherwise known as ‘gut bugs’, are involved in functions critical to your overall health and wellbeing.
Your gut bugs are involved in many important processes that extend beyond just digesting food, including your metabolism, body weight, educating your immune system, hormone production, as well as your brain functions and mood. All great reasons for you to pay attention & check in with your gut bugs to make sure that they are happy.
Now to the exciting part…
Recent research is now making it clear that there is a link between the health of your gut microbiome and hormones; when gut health isn't optimal, hormones become imbalanced.
Research also specifically shows that your gut microbiome plays a big role in oestrogen regulation. You may relate to some of the symptoms of an oestrogen deficiency such as:
absent or irregular periods
How can we help ourselves?
Your gut microbiome can be altered by your diet and lifestyle, so I like the fact that there is room for you to take some control here. Daily habits can go a long way towards nourishing your gut microbiome. Let’s start to heal your gut and balance your hormones straight away.
Remember, a diet high in sugar, inflammatory fats such as sunflower, vegetable and peanut oil & food low in nutrients can have an adverse effect on your gut microbiome. To support your gut microbiome, try these natural interventions:
1. Regular exercise. Try to include a variety of types because too much high intensity exercise can cause a stress on your gut. I am a cardio junkie, but I’ve recently made more of an effort to include Pilates and strength training.
2. Supplement with a high-quality probiotic. I use Biome Actives because they are scientifically validated, and FDA approved.
3. Add in probiotic rich foods such a natural live yoghurt and kefir. I tried making water kefir recently. It was delicious but a little too time consuming for me – like a new-born baby, it needs regular burping!
4. Eat a rainbow diet and modify that rainbow as often as you can. Gut bugs thrive on different foods – you want to please as many of them as possible.
5. Eat fibre at every meal. This is food for your gut bugs. I like to include nuts, artichoke, brown rice, oats, and lentils. Check out Your UnbelievaBowl for their organic superfood boost which is such an easy way to add superfoods to your food.
6. Manage stress levels. Stress has a detrimental effect on your gut, so you want to actively do things to avoid stress or to lower it. I enjoy running, this is when I’m able to think clearly & do my best thinking.
7. Share your feelings. You do not have to suffer silently. It’s important to talk about any issues you are having and get the support you need. As well as chatting to my friends, I take the time to read, for me it’s important to know the reasons for my symptoms and how I can make the necessary changes.
Healing your gut and balancing hormones might take effort but believe me it is worth it; showing my gut some TLC has repaid me 100 times over. Before you cause yourself to start sweating because you have some of the classic menopause symptoms, take a minute to think about your gut. Symptoms that your gut is struggling can actually be similar to those of the menopause.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can make dietary and exercise choices that can have a positive impact on your gut and hormonal health. Go forth women of all ages & Be Gut Happy.
Vicky Leonard – Be Gut Happy
Vicky was inspired to set up Be Gut Happy after finally overcoming 10 years of gut health issues to help others find true gut happiness and all the benefits it brings using safe, scientifically tested organic supplements.
Vicky is a qualified teacher, holds a diploma in the Gut Brain Connection and various qualifications in alternative medicine, healing, guidance and support.
If you would like to do more reading on this subject, check out the links below.