Estrogen dominance and probiotics are two words that don’t typically go together. Estrogen is a hormone. Probiotics are for guts. It seems that simple.
But it is not.
It is possible to cure your estrogen dominance with probiotics?
As it turns out, you very well may be able to.
Estrogen dominance (which I discuss at length in the post: The Estrogen Dominance Post: Where it’s coming from and what to do about it) is one of the most common health problems to face women today.
It is brought about by many different factors. Birth control pill usage, exposure to estrogens in the environment, having a high body fat percentage, stress, high intake of estrogenic foods (see this post on phytoestrogens: phytoestrgens in the body: how soy interferes with natural hormone balance and also Why I now believe phytoestrogens may be good for you), and an inflammatory diet can all be factors.
Estrogen dominance can be signalled by symptoms such as depression, mood swings, PMDD, PMS, menstrual cramps, low libido, weight gain, ovarian cysts, cystic fibroids, and variants of female cancers.
It can be an incredible challenge to overcome.
Yet emerging science is beginning to demonstrate that probiotics could play a role. In fact, probiotics could be a key component to an estrogen dominance solution.
Estrogen dominance: Probiotics for reducing Beta-glucuronidase
I know it’s a mouthful, but it’s important.
Beta-glucuronidase is an enzyme that is produced by “bad bacteria.” This enzyme breaks the bond between an important molecule the liver creates – glucuronic acid – and a toxin to which glucuronic acid is attached. The liver excretes glucuronic acid specifically in order to attach to toxins and then excrete them out of the body.
When beta-glucuronidase breaks the bond between glucuronic acid and toxins in the gut, these toxins are then freed to be reabsorbed back into the bloodstream through the intestinal walls.
This is extremely problematic.
All sorts of bad molecules count as “toxins.” This ranges from heavy metals to toxic by-products of your body’s metabolism, to excess estrogen.
The liver is the body’s primary way of clearing “old” hormones out of the body. If you don’t have an efficient disposal system – that is, if your liver doesn’t function properly or if estrogen gets reabsorbed back into your body – then your hormone levels will simply keep piling up over time.
Fortunately, healthy supplementation of fermented foods (such as these: Organic Raw Kombucha, Fermented Natto beans, Kimchi, Coconut Yogurt, Raw Organic Sauerkraut, Kefir, Pickled Baby Beets) on a daily basis,
OR a high quality probiotic supplement such as my personal favorite Prescript Assist, will help boost good gut flora in your intestines, and replace the bad.
This will reduce the rate at which glucuronic acid is separated from toxins, and therefore help you excrete all the toxins your liver processes. Including estrogen.
Estrogen dominance: probiotics for increasing gut motility
Another powerful effect probiotics can have on estrogen dominance is by speeding up the rate of your bowels.
An unfortunately high percentage of women are constipated. An even higher percentage aren’t necessarily constipated per se, but do not have regular bowels movements – at least once a day.
This is okay, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for your health. But it does mean that you may be reabsorbing more toxins into your bloodstream than you would like.
The slower your digestion is, the more time toxins have to hang out in your intestines and get reabsorbed.
The speedier your digestion is (or, at least, having a health rate of digestion), the more efficiently your body will be able to empty out excess estrogen and other molecules your body doesn’t want hanging around.
The reason probiotics can help with this is that gut flora actually comprise a whopping 30% of the bulk of your stool. The more bulk you have – and of the healthy sort – the better your stool will move along. Gut flora also help process the foodstuff in your gut, which makes that more digestible and easily excretable as well.
Estrogen dominance: probiotics for reducing inflammation
Probiotics are now well known to help reduce inflammation in the body in a number of ways.
This has a number of positive downstream effects. One of them is on hormone production.
When the body is inflamed, it doesn’t necessarily produce hormones in the correct amounts. In fact, the body will often over-produce estrogen in times of stress, as it is a part of the pro-inflammatory response. This is important to note: reducing inflammation can help reduce excess estrogen levels, and reducing excess estrogen levels can help reduce inflammation. Estrogen is complex.
But it is clear that excess inflammation is harmful, and that estrogen can play a role in it.
So marshalling all your resources – including a healthy gut biome – in fighting inflammation can go a long way towards hormone health.
Estrogen dominance: the probiotic solution
Estrogen dominance can be helped by a number of things. I discuss many of them in this post: The Estrogen Dominance Post: Where It’s Coming from and What to Do About It.
Yet perhaps one of the best (and easiest) things you can do is make sure your gut is in good order.
My favorite broad spectrum probiotic – Prescript Assist – could possibly go a long a way.
And please, as ever, let me know if you have any questions, comments, or experiences to share! We all grow best when we learn from one another 🙂