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Gut & Hormones: What Does Your Gut Have To Do With Estrogen? Plus, How To Promote A Healthy Gut Microbiota.



#RelevantResearch: 2017 Review-Estrogen-gut microbiome axis: Physiological and clinical implications. 

As research continues to reveal more and more about the broad and intimate connections between gut health and other aspects of our health, such as the connections to the immune system, mood, and cognition, estrogen’s no exception!  Estrogen has been shown to influence the gut microbiota (microbiome) and the reverse is also true, the gut microbiota can significantly impact estrogen levels! (1)


Microbiota: the microbe population living in your intestines (2)



How Does The Gut Impact Estrogen Levels?

The body can recycle estrogen, impacting circulating levels.  This process takes place in the gut.  The gut influences estrogen activity through what’s called beta-glucuronidase, which is an enzyme produced by certain strains of bacteria in your gut.  Most inactive estrogen is bound to what’s called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which the liver produces. (1)  When estrogen is bound, it is inactive, and unable to initiate its “estrogenic” effect.  However, beta-glucuronidase is able to free estrogen, to an unbound, biologically active state.  When estrogen is unbound it is active and able to activate those estrogen receptors, to cause a downstream “estrogenic” effect. 


It can be thought of as a big ol’ high-five, when estrogen activates estrogen receptors.   When estrogen is bound, it’s like SHBG has wrapped up its arms and prevented estrogen from being able to raise a hand to pass on that high-five.  However, when it’s free, it’s hands are free, and able to initiate that high-five (or activate that estrogen receptor😉).   


Dysbiosis-What Is It, And What’s The Significance?  

“An imbalance of the gut microbiota is referred to as dysbiosis and has pathophysiological consequences.” (1)