Often, when facing any kind of hormonal issues, we go to the doctor, they run a whole slew of tests to see what our hormones look like, and then maybe we get put on hormonal medication - like birth control - or even just told to reduce our stress level.
But what if there was an entire system that influences our hormonal health all day long, everyday?
Well, there is - it's our gut!
That's right! Our gut has a MAJOR influence on our hormones!
I want to empower you with 4 ways our gut influences our hormonal function, so next time you are seeking help with hormones, you know where to look!
The most obvious connection between our gut and our hormones is that we need optimal digestive function to be able to break the foods we eat into smaller components that our body can then use to make hormones.
If we do not have these raw materials coming in, or if we do have them coming in but our digestive function sucks, then we are not making hormones!
A perfect example of this is when the thyroid gland uses iodine and the amino acid tyrosine (found in abundance in dairy and meat products) from food to make two thyroid hormones: triiodothyronine (active T3) and thyroxine (inactive T4).
If we are not eating enough iodine OR not digesting our proteins properly, we will not make enough thyroid hormones for optimal function!
If the balance is off between good and bad bacteria we will have undesirable issues with our hormones because healthy bacteria in our gut help with the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone (T4) to active thyroid hormone (T3) by increasing the activity of the main enzyme that converts T4 into T3 - iodothyronine deiodinase.
Another way our gut influences our hormones is by helping with metabolizing estrogen.
Remember that excess estrogen needs to be removed from the body via the bowels? Well, our gut bugs produce just the right amount of a substance called beta-glucuronidase to maintain estrogen homeostasis. Basically, our gut bugs have a strong say in how much estrogen gets re-absorbed from the gut back into the blood stream.
When gut dysbiosis (when the ratio of good and bad bacteria is off) is present, beta-glucuronidase activity may be altered.
This can produce an excess of estrogen that is then reabsorbed into our blood stream, thus promoting the development of high estrogen-related symptoms like heavy, painful periods, irritability, swelling, hot flashes, and night sweats.
Finally, because we NEED to move that excess estrogen out of the body, constipation is going to be a huge problem for our hormonal balance.
If we are not pooping at least once a day, we are likely recycling estrogen and toxins into the body.
Healthy stool patterns are also a great view of what is happening inside of our bodies and a regular, consistent stool can show us that we are digesting our food properly and absorbing nutrients and fluid from the foods we eat.
The Bristol Stool Chart above will give you a great idea of what your poop is saying about your gut health and some ideas to move your bowels in the right direction (haha)!
A little reminder….
Remember constipation is NOT a fiber issue
SAVE this email for the next time a doc says “eat more fiber!”
How many times have you been to a doctor, you tell them you are constipated and they say “eat more fiber……”
As you all know, this is not the whole story, just like all the other symptoms I talk about - there is always MORE to the story.
Ok, so what is the story here?
We need to ask the age old question, WHY…
WHY are we constipated in the first place???
To answer this, we need to take a look at the structure of your digestive system. Below the gut lining that everyone talks about, are muscles! Without the contraction of these muscles (peristalsis), your food wouldn’t move through the digestive tract, it would just sit there…ew
Peristalsis enables food to progress along the digestive tract while, at the same time, ensuring the absorption of the important nutrients.
Here is the catch, if your thyroid function is low, then your gut motility (the stretching and contractions of the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract) is going to be slow!
Piling more fiber into your gut may help relieve constipation for the short term, but it won’t fix the underlying problem of compromised gut motility. You may even get gassy and bloated with all that additional fiber.
How do we support the metabolism to address suppressed thyroid function?
>Eat every 3-4 hours to balance blood sugar
>Eat enough carbohydrates and protein to fuel your metabolism - at least 2000 calories for most women
>Eat carbs that are easy to digest like well-cooked roots, ripe fruits, and honey.
>Spend time in nature, in the sun, and with your loved ones to reduce stress
BONUS Get a squattypotty to put your body in the correct anatomical position to full empty your bowels