As women, we know all too well the impact hormones can have on our bodies and our lives. From puberty to menopause, hormones play a crucial role in regulating our menstrual cycles, fertility, mood, and overall health. But did you know that your gut health can also impact your hormone levels and balance? Let’s take a closer look at how the gut and hormones are connected.
The gut-brain axis & hormone regulation
The gut and brain communicate through a complex network known as the gut-brain axis. This communication system is bidirectional, meaning that the gut can influence the brain, and the brain can influence the gut. The gut-brain axis is mediated by various signalling molecules, including neurotransmitters and hormones.
One way the gut influences hormone levels is through its effect on the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in regulating mood, appetite, and sleep. Around ninety percent of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut, and an unhealthy gut microbiome can impact serotonin production. For example, an overgrowth of harmful bacteria can lead to inflammation, which can impair serotonin production and contribute to mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Prolonged anxiety can have a direct impact on ovulation & our sex hormones.
The gut also produces other hormones that play a role in regulating various bodily functions. For example, the gut produces ghrelin, a hormone that regulates appetite and food intake, and leptin, a hormone that regulates metabolism and energy balance. An unhealthy gut microbiome can impact the production of these hormones, leading to metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The vagus nerve & hormone regulation
The vagus nerve is a long nerve that runs from the brainstem to the abdomen, and it plays a critical role in regulating various bodily functions, including digestion and heart rate. The vagus nerve and the gut have a bidirectional relationship, meaning that the gut can influence the vagus nerve, and the vagus nerve can influence the gut.
One way the vagus nerve influences the gut is through its effect on peristalsis, which is the rhythmic contraction of muscles in the digestive tract that helps move food through the gut. The vagus nerve stimulates peristalsis, helping to move food through the gut and aiding in digestion.
The gut also influences the vagus nerve through the gut-brain axis. The gut-brain axis is mediated by various signalling molecules, including neurotransmitters and hormones. An unhealthy gut microbiome can impact the signalling molecules that regulate the gut-brain axis, leading to hormonal imbalances.
the gut-liver axis & hormone regulation
The liver plays a crucial role in hormone metabolism, and an unhealthy gut microbiome can impact liver function, leading to hormonal imbalances. For example, an unhealthy gut microbiome can lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria that produce toxins. These toxins can damage the liver and impair its ability to metabolise hormones, leading to hormonal imbalances.
The gut-liver axis also plays a role in oestrogen metabolism. The liver metabolises oestrogen, and an unhealthy gut microbiome can impact liver function, leading to oestrogen dominance. Oestrogen dominance can contribute to a variety of health problems, including heavy periods, PMS, and fibroids.
supporting gut-health & hormone balance
To support gut health and hormone balance, it’s essential to eat a healthy diet rich in fibre, fermented foods, and prebiotics, and to manage stress and get enough sleep. Additionally, probiotics can help support the gut microbiome and promote hormone balance.
It’s also important to work with a healthcare provider to identify and address any underlying gut issues or hormonal imbalances. By taking a comprehensive approach to women’s health that includes supporting gut health, we can promote optimal hormonal balance and overall wellness. Remember, a healthy gut is the foundation for overall health, and taking care of your gut can help support healthy hormone levels and improve your quality of life.
If you would like to learn more about Holistic Women’s Health so that you can improve your own health or help others with their health by becoming an Ayurveda & Women’s Holistic Health Coach, we invite you to apply today: AYURVEDA ALCHEMIST