Microbes have multicellular hosts and can have many effects on the host’s health and well-being. Researchers have stated that microbes influence metabolism, immunity, and behavior on the human body. One of the most important but understudied mechanisms that microbes have is that they can involve hormones. In the presence of gut microbiota, specific changes in hormone levels can correlate in the gut. The gut microbiota can produce and secrete hormones, respond to the host hormones, and regulate their expression levels. There is also a link between the endocrine system and the gut microbiota as more information is still being researched.
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The Gut to Hormone Connection
Since the human microbiome contains a vast array of microbes and genes that shows a higher complexity. Unlike other organs in the body, the gut microbiota’s function is not fully understood yet but can be disrupted easily by antibiotics, diet, or surgery. The best-characterized function is how the gut microbiota interacts with the endocrine system in the body.
Emerging research has indicated that the gut microbiome plays a central role in regulating estrogen levels within the body. When the estrogen hormone levels are too high or too low, it can lead to the risk of developing estrogen-related diseases like endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, breast cancer, and prostate cancer to males and females.
The gut to hormone connection is essential since the gut is one of the producers to create hormones that travel through the entire body system. With the endocrine system is being involved, it is the first network to produce and transport hormones to the organs that need the hormones to function. When there is an imbalance of hormones in the human body, it can disrupt all the other hormones.
The gut microbiota influences nearly every hormone that the endocrine system creates, including:
- The thyroid hormones
- Estrogen hormones
- Stress hormones
If the gut has inflammation, then the hormones in the body will create an excessive or low quantity in the body. If the endocrine glands like thyroid, are producing a low quantity of hormones and the gut can be imbalanced and lead to hypothyroidism. When there is low microbial diversity in the gut, studies have shown that the low microbial diversity is linked to high TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) levels. The excessive quantity of thyroid hormones can lead to hyperthyroidism. Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause symptoms like irritability, anxiety, poor memory, and many symptoms that can affect the body.
“If you are experiencing excessive belching, burping, bloating, difficult bowel movements difficulty digesting proteins and meats;undigested food found in stools, digestive problems subside with rest and relaxation or any symptoms. Then this article will give you a better understand what is happening with the gut and how hormones can affect the gut system.”
The gut and an individual’s hormones are meant to be in communication with each other. They not only support each other, but they also work together to make sure the body is running smoothly. Studies have found out that the gut’s intestinal cells have special receptors for hormones that allow them to detect any hormonal shifts that affect the body.
Since estrogen is typically associated with women, it is common that men need the right amount of estrogen levels to function. The gut microbiota is the key regulator of leveling and circulating estrogen in the body. The microbes produce an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase, which then converts the estrogen hormone to its active form.
The gut microbiome can regulate estrogen levels by functioning a specific bacteria in the microbiome called estrobolome. Estrobolome is the aggregates of enteric bacterial genes that are capable of metabolizing estrogen. It might affect women’s risk of developing postmenopausal estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. The estrobolome is highly essential to keep estrogen levels in the body at a stable state.
In the gut microbiota, both the estrogen and progesterone hormones can impact the guts’ motility and peristalsis ( The rhythmic movement of the intestines that move food through the stomach and out of the body) by playing opposing roles in the guts’ motility. Progesterone helps slow down the gut’s motility by relaxing the smooth and slowing transit the time the food is moving out of the body. Estrogen helps increase the contraction of the smooth muscles in the intestines. When the estrogen hormones are leveled right, it can help keep the gut moving smoothly and help increase the diversity of the body’s microbiomes, which is a good thing for the immune system.
Stress hormones or cortisol plays a massive part in the gut microbiota. Since cortisol hormones connect to the brain, it sends the signals to the gut and vice versa. If it is a short stressor like getting ready for a presentation or a job interview, the person will feel “butterflies” in their gut. The longer stressors, for example, like having a highly stressful job or feeling anxious consistently, can lead to chronic illnesses in the gut like inflammation or leaky gut. Since the hormone and gut connection is in sync with the gut and brain connection, it is crucial to lowering the cortisol levels to a stable state for a healthy functional body.
The gut and hormone connections are profoundly meaningful since they are linked closely together. When there is a disruption on the gut, it can cause hormones to be imbalanced, causing many disruptions like inflammation and leaky gut. When there is a disruption in the hormones, it can disrupt the gut as well by negatively shifting the gut’s microbiome. So to ensure that the gut is functioning correctly, it is crucial to eat food that contains probiotics and is fermented to keep the gut flora healthy. Some products can help counter the metabolic effects of temporary stress and supporting estrogen metabolism by incorporating other essential nutrients and cofactors to support the endocrine system.
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Kresser, Chris. “The Gut–Hormone Connection: How Gut Microbes Influence Estrogen Levels.” Kresser Institute, Kresserinstitute.com, 10 Oct. 2019, kresserinstitute.com/gut-hormone-connection-gut-microbes-influence-estrogen-levels/.
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Szkudlinski, Mariusz W, et al. “Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone and Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone Receptor Structure-Function Relationships.” Physiological Reviews, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2002, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11917095.
Wieselman, Brie. “Why Your Gut Health and Microbiome Make-or-Break Your Hormone Balance.” Brie Wieselman, 28 Sept. 2018, briewieselman.com/why-your-gut-health-and-microbiome-make-or-break-your-hormone-balance/.
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