Oestrogens are key female sex hormones that influence our fertility. They exist in different biologically active forms and fluctuate across the menstrual cycle.
Why is Oestrogen Important?
Oestrogens help with:
- - the development of follicles that contain eggs in the ovary
- - regulating other hormones that control ovulation
- - altering cervical mucus consistency
- - preparing the endometrial lining for implantation (if an egg is fertilised)
- - regulating metabolism and insulin sensitivity
- - bone health
Too little or too much oestrogen can affect our reproductive health but also our metabolism, bone health and energy levels.
Imbalances in circulating estrogens are found in endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), obesity, metabolic syndrome, breast cancer and infertility.
Get to Know Your Oestrobolome
Our gut is home to trillions of microbes that are central to our reproductive health. One of their important roles is in regulating our sex hormones. There are over 60 species of bacteria living in our gut that can regulate estrogen concentration. The collection of these bacteria is called our oestrobolome.
One way we get rid of oestrogen from the body is in our faeces. How much oestrogen we excrete from our body, or how much we reabsorb back into our blood stream,is influenced by who is living in our gut, or our oestrobolome.
If you have lots of bacteria that produce β-glucuronidase enzymes, these bacteria can deconjugate oestrogens in the gut so they are reabsorbed back into the circulation.
On the other hand, if you don’t have enough of these bacteria that produce β-glucuronidase, then oestrogen gets excreted and circulating levels can be low.
How do I Regulate Oestrogen Balance?
A healthy, diverse gut microbiota is essential for promoting oestrogen balance. One of the best strategies to promote the diversity of your gut microbes is to nurture them with the foods they need to thrive.
Microbiota accessible carbohydrates, which are prebiotic, promote the growth of beneficial bacterial species in the gut to increase species richness and abundance which means improved diversity!
A diet rich in fat or protein is associated with reduce diversity and higher β-glucuronidase activity, whereas prebiotics have been shown to reduce this and rebalance oestrogen.
What are the Benefits of Improved Oestrogen Balance?
Improving the diversity of your gut microbiota impacts hormone balance. Focusing on improving your gut diversity is a therapeutic strategy to manage oestrogen balance for better reproductive health and fertility!