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The 'Gut-Hormone Connection' explained

The 'Gut-Hormone Connection' explained

The human body is a complex system with multiple interconnected parts. One important connection that is gaining increasing attention is the 'gut-hormone connection'. Imbalances in gut bacteria and nutrient deficiencies, amongst other factors, can all contribute to hormone imbalances and affect overall health and well-being, in particular in women during their monthly cycle and menopause. 

Our expert nutritionist Isabelle Nunn (MPHARM, Dip NT), delves into the relationship between our gut and hormones, including oestrogen.

Understanding the role of the gut microbiome 

What happens in the gut does not just stay there. The gut microbiome influences almost every other body system, including our hormones.

The trillions of bacteria that reside in the gut play an essential role in our digestion, immunity and overall health. The gut is also responsible for producing hormones that regulate our mood, hunger, sleep and stress, amongst many other things.

Our latest gut health research provides more insight into common gut health-related symptoms including IBS, stress and anxiety. Learn more in 'Latest gut health research: IBS causes and symptoms revealed'.  

88% of people who take Gut Works® enjoy relief within 4 weeks or less. 

The gut-hormone connection and the skin

The skin is the body's largest organ and is often the first place we notice changes in our health. Similarly, the gut-hormone connection can also affect our skin. Hormones such as oestrogen play a role in skin health, and imbalances can contribute to conditions such as acne, rosacea and premature ageing. Improving gut health can help restore hormone balance, leading to healthier skin. Hear more from our nutritionists and their tips for healthier glowing skin.

Dysbiosis and the gut-hormone connection

There are many factors that can cause an imbalance in gut bacteria, ranging from environmental toxins to stress and medication intake (antibiotics). These can irritate the lining of the gut, causing inflammation, nutrient deficiencies and a range of health problems, including hormone imbalances. 

One of the hormones that is particularly affected by gut health is oestrogen. Oestrogen in the body is processed by a collection of bacteria in the gut, which is called ‘estrobolome’. Estrobolome includes the enzymes which are responsible for breaking down hormones and healthy bacteria in the gut which go on to feed the rest of our body. Estrobolome also controls how your body breaks down and eliminates excess oestrogen once its function is over. This process is commonly referred to as the ‘oestrogen metabolism’. As a result, an imbalance in healthy gut bacteria can contribute to a deficiency or excess of oestrogen, which can lead to imbalances in other hormones. Learn more in 'Estrobolome, your gut and oestrogen'. 

Create your free Diet Profile and understand your diet.

Signs of hormonal imbalances 

Since oestrogen is essential for reproductive health in women, imbalances can contribute to irregular periods, mood swings and premenstrual syndrome. Other symptoms include:

If you notice any of those symptoms, you may wish to have a check-up at your local GP. A qualified nutritionist can help you identify the underlying causes of the symptoms. You may find contact details for a local practitioner through the BANT portal.

5 ways to improve your hormones naturally

There are a number of ways you can help manage your hormones naturally and here are five great tips:

1. Manage your stress and anxiety. This is really important. Listening to music or deep breathing exercises can help lower our cortisol levels and in turn lower our anxiety, help us to deal with stress and stay calm

2. Take regular exercise. Walking in the woods or a gentle pilates session can help reduce stress and improve hormone balance. Exercise can influence the bacteria in your gut, improving the diversity and abundance of particular species of bacterial strainsIt is thought this could be the link between the positive effects of exercise on the gut and brain. 

3. Get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for hormone regulation and overall health. Listen to this excellent podcast by Diary of a CEO, interviewing Matthew Walker, the world's #1 sleep expert, to learn about the importance of sleep. 

4. Choose food that supports the gut. Eat whole, unprocessed foods; limited sugars and artificial sweeteners; avoid meal replacement shakes; and ensure your diet is packed with fibre. Include gut-loving foods (aka 'prebiotics') to help fuel healthy gut bacteria, such as artichokes, garlic, leeks, onions, bananas and cacao. Additionally fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut are superb for a healthy gut.

5. Choose supplements to balance your gut and your hormones. Research shows that specific probiotic strains of bacteria can play an important role in balancing the gut and fighting off unhealthy (pathogenic) bacteria. Taking a prebiotic and probiotic supplement such as Gut Works® can also help. Gut Works® is an award-winning probiotic that provides a combination of inulin and 6 strains of clinically studied live cultures, including Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium and Streptococcus, in one daily delayed-release capsule.

PMS Hero® or MenoFriend® can help support your hormone health and manage symptoms of hormone imbalance, depending on where you are on your hormonal journey.

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