The Estrobolome: Understanding Our Gut Bacteria and Their Hormonal Influence
The human body is home to trillions of microorganisms. The majority of them living within our gut. These bacteria play a significant role in our overall health. They contribute to a healthy immune system and aid in the absorption of nutrients. However, research has revealed that these bacteria also influence our hormonal balance, specifically in women.
What is the Estrobolome?
The estrobolome is a subset of our gut microbiota that has been shown to metabolize estrogen, a predominantly female hormone. Estrogen plays a vital role in regulating the menstrual cycle, and pregnancy. It has also been linked to various health conditions like breast cancer, obesity, and diabetes. The estrobolome is essential for maintaining hormonal balance by breaking down estrogen into a less potent form that can be excreted though the urine or faeces.
The 2017 study titled “The gut microbiome and estradiol levels in female reproductive-age women” investigates the relationship between the diversity of the gut microbiome, and estradiol levels in women of reproductive age. The study found that the diversity of the gut microbiome was positively correlated with circulatory levels of estradiol. Furthermore, specific bacterial species, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, were significantly associated with higher estradiol levels. These findings suggest that the gut microbiome plays a crucial role in regulating hormone levels, and reproductive health in women.
Further research has suggested that disruptions to the estrobolome can lead to a buildup of estrogen and hormonal imbalances. An imbalance can lead to an increased risk of developing breast cancer, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, reproductive, and hormonal disorders. Interestingly, studies have also shown that the estrobolome can be influenced by diet and lifestyle choices such as exercise and tobacco use.
How Can I Improve My Estrobolome Gut Health?
Prebiotics and probiotics are essential in promoting a healthy estrobolome. Prebiotic-rich foods like asparagus, garlic, onion, leeks, and legumes provide fiber, which is essential for promoting healthy gut bacteria growth. Probiotic foods like kefir, kimchi, and kombucha contain live and active cultures that help replenish the gut microbiota. In contrast, a poor diet filled with sugary snacks, processed foods, and alcohol can promote the growth of harmful bacteria that disrupt the estrobolome’s delicate balance.
To summarize, the estrobolome is essential in maintaining hormonal balance. Health-promoting lifestyle choices, including a diet rich in prebiotics and probiotics, can help maintain a healthy estrobolome. As research in this field continues to grow, future therapies targeting the estrobolome may be developed to prevent and treat hormonal imbalances in women.
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