What is the Estrobolome?
Exciting new research is telling us that our gut microbiome regulates how much estrogen circulates in our body. The estrobolome is the collection of microbes in the gut which can produce beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme that takes the estrogen in our colon, en route to be excreted from our body, and changes it so that it is reabsorbed by the body. Gut dysbiosis can lead to either excess levels of beta-glucuronidase – leading to increased estrogen absorption, or reduced levels of beta-glucuronidase – leading to reduced levels of estrogen reabsorption.
Dysbiosis leading to higher estrogen levels
In dysbiosis states where there is an overgrowth of the microbes that comprise the estrobolome, increase levels of estrogen are reabsorbed by our body and influence the risk of developing estrogen-driven conditions such as PMS (specifically symptoms such as breast tenderness, bloating, water retention, and anger), PCOS, Endometriosis, and certain forms of Breast Cancer.
Dysbiosis leading to lower estrogen levels
In dysbiosis states where there is a reduction in biodiversity of gut microbes, a lower level of beta-glucoronidase will be produced. This can result in decrease circulating estrogen levels which can trigger weight gain, obesity, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis, heart disease, and cognitive decline. These states can then further impact other health issues such as fertility, anxiety, depression, and the menopausal experience.
Many of my patients who come to see me for hormone imbalances also struggle with digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and constipation. This is the reason why I am always asking about bowel movements and gas patters when women see me for their hormones. Estrogen-gut interactions are often the root cause of hormone imbalances. A personalized gut protocol – which may include herbal antimicrobials, probiotics, enzymes, and gut healing nutrients – can often treat hormonal imbalances. And, if the gut protocol does not lead to 100% resolution of symptoms, it definitely removes a significant obstacle to cure – allowing other hormone balancing therapies to work more effectively.
Dr. Maggie Ney is Director of the Women’s Clinic and specializes in women’s health, healthy aging, and hormone balancing.