If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ll know your gut microbiome (GM) plays a starring role in vital pillars of your life, from your mood to your immune system.
One area you might not (yet!) be conscious of your GM’s influence reaching, though? Your hormones.
Research showing that microbe-free mice had abnormal sexual development – because they lacked a GM to produce and regulate their hormones – sparked my interest in whether harnessing the power of the gut might help with managing the hormonal ride that is life for females…
And, yep: turns out, it can. This is what the research currently shows:
- Your GM is able to influence circulating oestrogen levels thanks to an enzyme it produces called beta-glucuronidase, which can turn inactive oestrogen into active oestrogen, recycling it from your gut back into our circulation.
- As a result, an imbalance in your gut bacteria has been shown to negatively impact circulating oestrogen levels, which can play a role in common hormonal conditions including polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis.
- It’s not purely sex hormones that are affected. Hormones that control your appetite, blood sugar and blood sugars are involved, too.