Why is a healthy gut so important for hormonal imbalance during menopause?
One of the deciding factors in whether or not your body can balance hormones during menopause and keep hormone levels high enough after menopause - is a healthy digestive system, a healthy gut.
Why a healthy gut is important for your hormones
During menopause we hear a lot about estrogen and progesterone... But all your hormones are closely linked - change one and they all change.
If you're struggling with weight gain and thinning hair - think thyroid, insulin, and leptin as well as estrogen and progesterone.
If you're struggling with mood changes, stress, and anxiety - think serotonin, progesterone, and cortisol.
If you're struggling with good old hot flashes, think estrogen.
And if you're struggling with insomnia - think melatonin as well as estrogen and progesterone.
Which means, for your body to maintain healthy levels of estrogen and progesterone, your thyroid, stress, and blood sugar hormones - as well as estrogen and progesterone - all need to be in pretty decent shape.
And a healthy gut is one of the most important factors in whether or not your body has trouble maitaining these healthy hormone levels.
Your body can sense when your hormone levels are off. It'll send out messages about what to do to fix it, but without a healthy gut, it's very hard for your body to carry out the instructions in those messages.
Here are some of the reasons why:
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Hormone Imbalance And Leaky Gut
Which hormones are produced in the gut?
Estrogen and your gut
When excess or aggressive forms of estrogen get into your body, your body knows it and wants to get rid of them. So your body sends them to your gut, which is like your outbox for estrogen. They're supposed to pass through the intestines and go out of your body through your bowel movements - those bowels are one of the main ways we detox & balance estrogen!
But if your gut is unhealthy and inflamed, it's easy to develop something called "leaky gut." This means the lining of your intestines has gaps in it where things that are supposed to be passing through and OUT can leak back into your bloodstream!
It's like putting expired food in the trash can out by the curb, then finding it back on the shelf in your pantry!
And this can happen with estrogen making it very hard for your body to detoxify estrogen, especially the aggressive forms of estrogen that can contribute to estrogen dominance or even things like estrogen related cancers.
Thyroid hormones and your gut
A healthy gut is really important for keep thyroid hormone levels healthy. Heres why..
You have different forms of thyroid hormones - T3 and T4.
So T4 is something you can get into your body in the form of medication or supplementation if you have low thyroid... But T3 is the one your body actually uses!
So your body has to be able to turn T4 into T3 for you to feel like you have enough thyroid hormone and for you to get relief from low thyroid symptoms.
And a big part of that conversion T4 into T3, which is the stronger, more active thyroid hormone, that conversion happens in your gut.
And if your gut is unhealthy, your body can’t make that T3.
Without T3 you won't get relief from low thyroid symptoms. So if you're having trouble losing weight, you’re gaining weight for no reason, your hair is falling out, your eyelashes or eyebrows are falling out or you have other symptoms of low thyroid, this could be one of the reasons why. Low thyroid isn't a good feeling, and it affects your estrogen and progesterone balance as well. So your gut needs to be healthy for your body to keep your thyroid hormones at the right levels.
Insulin, your blood sugar hormones and your gut
If your gut is unhealthy, becomes inflamed, and you develop leaky gut, it's very hard for your body to use insulin correctly and keep your blood sugar balanced.
In fact, studies show leaky gut can lead to insulin resistance, which is one of the biggest things you want to avoid during and after menopause, as it can lead to pre-diabetes, increased inflammtion and increased inflammaging. Which both bring on signs of aging, possible disease, and make it harder for the body to balance estrogen and progesterone.
Cortisol, your stress hormones and gut health
Cortisol is your stress hormone, and it’s closely interrelated with progesterone. Basically, the higher your cortisol, the harder it is for your body to make and keep progesterone. And in this whole series of articles we're talking about how to help your body make MORE progesterone to prevent estrogen dominance, and how stress management and controlling cortisol levels is so important for this.
And if you have a leaky, inflamed gut, your stress response is triggered much more easily. So you get stressed out much more easily. So you’re going through your day and you keep getting these waves of stress and anxiety, you keep releasing stress hormones, raising your cortisol levels, which starts that cascade through your whole endocrine system that makes it harder for your body to make and keep enough progesterone.
Serotonin, your feel good mood hormone and gut health
Serotonin is what's in most anti-depressants (know as SSRIs selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors.). It's a hormone that helps keep you from feeling depressed. It’s like your happy hormone.
And about 80-90% percent of serotonin is made in your gut.
So if your gut is not healthy, you can’t make this hormone that helps you to feel happy and keeps your brain happy. Which is one reason that without a healthy gut you're more likely to struggle with depression, brain fog, and other mood changes.
Melatonin, your sleep hormone and gut healthy
Melatonin is your sleep hormone.
You need a nice surge of melatonin to be released in your body during the night to be able to sleep well.
Melatonin is made in your gut. So this is another reason that if your gut is unhealthy and inflamed you're going to have trouble making enough melatonin, which can lead to increased sleep difficulties during and after menopause.
Leptin, your hunger hormones and gut health
Leptin is a hormone you may not have heard of... But it's the one that regulates appetite. And if it’s not at a healthy level it doesn’t signal your body when you’re full.
This means you feel hungry all the time, even when you should be feeling full.
It makes you want to eat more and more and if you can't tell when you're full, you're much more likely to gain weight during or after menopause.
Summary: So your happy hormone, your hunger hormone, your stress hormone, your sleep hormone, your blood sugar hormone, and your estrogen (your female hormone,) are all directly affected by gut health
How to have a healthy gut for hormonal balance and menopause relief
So hormones and your microbiome, the healthy (or unhealthy) microorganisms living in your gut are closely related. How do you help the right microorganisms flourish, heal leaky gut, and decrease inflammation in the gut to make it easier for your body to maintain healthy hormone levels?
Gut healing foods
You need to customize your choices based on food sensitivities and what's going on in YOUR gut - but here are some things to consider.
Include gut-healing foods in your diet like meat and bone broth, apple cider vinegar, ginger, coconut, ghee, and lemon.
Include probiotic and prebiotic foods that feed your microbiome like fermented vegetables, kefir, apples, garlic, asparagus, jerusalem artichoke, dandelion greens and chicory root.
Avoid foods that trigger food sensitivities, inflammatory foods, processed foods, and excess alcohol or sugar.
Gut healing supplements
For faster gut healing and maintaining a healthy gut for hormonal balance consider probiotics, digestive enzymes, and l-glutamine.
Gut healing lifestyle
Manage your stress, get enough sleep, and eat at the right times and intervals for balancing your blood sugar.
Herbal remedies for a healthy gut
Customized herbal remedies can give fantastic support for increasing digestive power, reducing dysbiosis (overgrowth of the wrong microorganisms in your gut,) reducing food sensitivities, balancing blood sugar, decreasing inflammation, managing stress, and decreasing symptoms of IBS! So whatever your individual gut issues, the right herbal remedies can help you get much better results faster.
Summary: Diet, lifestyle, supplements, and herbs can help you heal your gut and maintain a healthy gut for menopause relief and hormonal balance in all the years during and after menopause.
How I Can Help
So if this is happening to you, or you want to prevent it from happening as you progress through perimenopause and menopause, I can help you support:
- Gut health, hormonal balance, and healthy stress levels
- WITH - Diet, lifestyle, supplements, herbs, and essential oils
Thanks so much for joining me today! Please put your questions & comments in the comments section below, I'd truly love to hear from you!
This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about Chinese medicine in your diet, lifestyle, and supplements and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not personalized health advice. This information is to be used at your own risk based on your own judgment. For my full Disclaimer, please go to https://danalavoielac.com/disclaimer-2/