As a Holistic Nutritionist, my goal is to uncover the intricate web of connections within our bodies that impact our overall well-being; Aka, considering the body as a whole, not just addressing symptoms.
In recent years, extensive research has shed light on the fascinating link between our Gut Health and our Hormone Health.. It is intriguing to discover that many symptoms commonly associated with hormonal imbalances may actually originate or be impacted by the health of our gut microbiome!
In this blog post, we will delve into several symptoms, including irregular menstrual cycles, mood swings, acne, weight fluctuations, fatigue, digestive problems, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and PMS, that are closely tied to the health of our Gut.
#1. Irregular Menstrual Cycles:
For many women, hormonal imbalances can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, causing frustration and uncertainty. However, recent studies have revealed that disruptions in the gut microbiome can be a contributing factor to hormonal irregularities, as well. This is because the Gut plays a crucial role in metabolizing, creating and eliminating hormones that are important for menstrual regularity.
One example is Estrogen, which is metabolized by the liver and ideally, removed from the body through the stool. When constipation occurs (which is typically a result of sluggish digestion or bacterial overgrowth), excess Estrogen isn’t removed from the body efficiently, which can lead to too much Estrogen relative to Progesterone, and consequently, issues with menstruation. Certain pathogenic bacteria that reside in the Gut may also put stress on the body, which can directly interfere with hormone production and lead to hormonal imbalances like irregular periods.
In practice, I always start by addressing Gut Imbalance when a client is struggling with menstrual irregularities.
#2. Mood Issues:
The gut-brain axis is a remarkable bidirectional communication system that connects the Gut and the brain. Imbalances in gut bacteria (especially overgrowths of pathogens like bacteria, yeast and parasites), can trigger chronic inflammation that leads to mood swings, anxiety, and even depression.
The Gut, often referred to as our "second brain," also houses millions of neurons, and it synthesizes various neurotransmitters that control impact mood. This includes Serotonin and Dopamine, which are our "feel good" hormones that are often associated with feelings of happiness and well-being.
# 3. Skin Issues:
The Skin is like a window into the Gut, and while hormonal imbalances are often blamed for acne and other skin problems, the gut-skin connection is gaining more and more recognition as an influential factor in maintaining clear, healthy skin.
In fact, I’ve helped hundreds of clients heal their skin issues by addressing imbalances in the Gut.
There are a few different ways that the Gut can impact our skin. Firstly, infections and overgrowths (gut dysbiosis) can create chronic inflammation and result in something called “leaky gut”, in which toxins and bacteria are able to enter the bloodstream and circulate through the body, ultimately leading to inflammation that may appear as rashes, acne and other visible issues on the skin.
Gut dysbiosis can also lead to increased toxin-production and impaired detoxification (especially in cases of constipation). Since the Skin is our major detox organ, the body pushes excess toxins through the skin, which can lead to acne.
The Gut is also where we absorb important nutrients for skin health like omega-3 fats, fat soluble vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so anything that impairs that process will negatively affect the skin.
Glowing skin starts from within!
Whether you struggle with acne, eczema, psoriasis, hives, dull skin or any other skin issue - I encourage you to start by looking at your Gut.
#4. Weight Fluctuations and Difficulty Losing Weight:
Struggling with weight fluctuations and finding it challenging to shed those extra pounds despite your dedicated efforts? Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly to me!), your gut health might be a significant contributing factor.
An imbalanced Gut can impact various aspects of weight management, including nutrient absorption, metabolism, and even appetite regulation. In fact, there are even associations between certain species of pathogenic bacteria and obesity. There are also direct connections between gut health and thyroid function, which plays a huge role in metabolism and weight.
Gut imbalances can also disrupt the regulation of hunger and satiety hormones, and can have negative impacts on blood sugar regulation, leading to cravings for carbs and sweets.
I have always been an advocate for supporting weight loss in a sustainable way (NO fad diets!), and I have found that my clients see the most success in weight management when we address underlying issues like inflammation, nutrient deficiencies, gut imbalances, blood sugar disregulation and sluggish detoxification processes, with no emphasis on restricting calories.
#5. Fatigue and Low Energy Levels:
If you constantly feel fatigued and lack energy, it's tempting to attribute these symptoms solely to hormonal imbalances or ‘lack of sleep’. However, poor Gut health can significantly impact our energy levels, as well.
An unhealthy gut (especially a leaky gut) can lead to impaired nutrient absorption, resulting in deficiencies in vital vitamins and minerals that are needed for energy. For example, we need healthy levels of stomach acid to absorb B12, and one of the hallmark symptoms of B12 deficiency is ongoing fatigue! Certain pathogens like H. Pylori and Parasites can also impact our absorption of Iron, another nutrient needed for energy.
By nurturing our Gut and ensuring optimal nutrient absorption, we can support our energy levels and overall vitality.
#6. Digestive Problems:
Digestive issues such as bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea are commonly associated with Gut health. However, it is important to recognize that these problems can also be linked to hormonal imbalances. Hormones like estrogen and progesterone influence gut motility and the production of digestive enzymes. Consequently, when hormonal imbalances occur, digestive problems may arise, manifesting as discomfort and disruption in our gastrointestinal system. Addressing both gut health and hormonal balance is crucial for alleviating digestive problems and promoting overall well-being.
#7. Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism:
Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can have profound effects on our overall health. While there are various causes for these conditions, emerging research suggests that Gut health may play a significant role, especially in cases of auto-immune related thyroid issues like Hashimoto's. Leaky gut, pathogenic overgrowths, chronic gut inflammation, sluggish digestive secretions, food sensitivities and impaired nutrient absorption can all contribute to imbalanced thyroid dysfunction.
PMS symptoms, such as mood swings, bloating, and cravings may be common but they shouldn’t be considered normal. In fact, periods should be seamless and easy, with little -to-no discomfort at all.
While PMS is commonly attributed to hormonal fluctuations, it is fascinating to discover that supporting Gut health can actually alleviate PMS symptoms, as well. In fact, one of the most common improvements my clients report after working to improve their Gut health is an improvement in their PMS!
As mentioned above, many hormones are produced and metabolized in the Gut, so it is crucial to establish a healthy microbiome in order to alleviate PMS and have easy, seamless periods. Gut Dysbiosis can also contribute to inflammation, which can exacerbate the intensity of PMS symptoms.
By nurturing our Gut and promoting a healthy gut microbiome, we can positively influence hormone regulation and reduce the severity of PMS symptoms.
Understanding the intricate connection between Gut health and hormonal balance is essential for optimal well-being - And as you can see, you can’t truly balance your hormones without healing your Gut!
Book a complimentary consultation with me to dive into the connection between your hormone health and your gut health today!