Last week, I highlighted some of the presentations I attended at The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) 2020 annual convention. This week, I completed my summary for my colleagues and submitted it to a journal. Due to the sheer number of seminars, I had to practice discipline in toning down my loquacious descriptions. There were a few lectures that really challenged my vociferous predisposition.
Scanning through the topics, you can probably guess the presentations that especially intrigued me. On top of the list would be all the topics related to emotional, mental, and brain health. The role of the gut and reproductive microbiome on women’s health, fertility, and hormones was another subject that captivated my attention.
In this article, I explore why it’s important to consider your estrobolome, the microbes in your belly that are involved in estrogen metabolism. I also highlight a podcast on getting to the root cause of anxiety in children.
The Impact of the Microbes in Your Belly on Hormonal Balance: Making Friends with Your Estrobolome
Due to the fact that most of my clientele is women, one of my specialties became women’s health. From my training in naturopathic and functional medicine, I am aware of the many factors involved in hormonal modulation. Basically, hormones are affected by everything and they themselves effect all things in the body. I explored this complex, multifactorial feedback when I took a dizzying look at the interactions of thyroid hormone on human physiology.
Many may be familiar with the phrase, “Disease begins and ends in the gut.” What I’ve seen in my clinical practice is that no matter what the symptoms, including reproductive wellness, the gut is involved. The research on the microbiome has proven this fact. It is now known that the balance of bacteria, and other microbes, within our body interact with our own cells and impact our physiology, psychology, and resultant health. (source)
There exists an aggregate of bacteria in the gut that directly impact hormonal health and are involved in metabolizing estrogens. (source, source, source, source) This collective of enteric bacterial genes are termed the estrobolome.
One important population of bacterial species within the estrobolome are those that produce B-glucuronidases and B-glucuronides. These enzymes are involved in breaking down toxins in the gut and are associated with estrogen levels in the body via their role in de-conjugation and conjugation reactions. (source, source, source, source) Many functional and naturopathic doctors can measure this enzyme with functional labs and also consider it when assessing digestive function and estrogen metabolism. (source, source, source)
My clients are surprised to learn about this interconnection between the gut and the reproductive tract and the various lifestyle measures we can utilize to take advantage of this link. Their eyes widen when we discuss certain foods and supplements that could potentially feed those little bugs and/or help prevent the inflammatory estrogens from being “stuck in the body.” (source, source, source) (Yes, guys, this is important for your fertility and overall health too!)
From Gut Bugs to “Those Bugs Down There”
What many individuals may be even more shocked to learn is that similarly to keeping our bugs in our bellies happy for overall hormonal health, it is just as important to maintain a healthy vaginal and reproductive microbiome.
The reproductive microbiome makes up all the microbiota and their genetic components that live in or surround the reproductive tract. At the conference, Dr. Chase provided a complete review of what we know at this point on this topic. She provided enough references to keep me occupied for the rest of the year.
Summary & Take Home Points
The research on the impact of the microbiome in health and its applications continues to explode.
Understanding both the estrobolome and reproductive microbiome has implications on all things related to endocrinology, fertility, hormonal balance, and systematic wellness! Next week, I’ll summarize some of the key points and why every woman, man, and they** should pay attention to their bugs “below the belly.”
In the meantime, take care of yourself and treat your microbiome and estrobolome well. You can do this by eating nourishing food, getting good rest, connecting to loved ones, moving your body, and eating fibers and veggies. (source, source, source, source) However, if you experience issues with a “healthy diet,” you may have sulfur and methylation SNPs that make you poor metabolizers of them, or you could have SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). Check with your naturopathic or functional medicine doctor for a personalized nutrition plan.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts below.
*“Women” is being used to refer to any -cis, -trans, or “they” that has any reproductive organs conventionally viewed as “female sex” in the medical literature. I am aware of that this terminology is shifting and I will do my utmost to understand and appreciate that fact.
Podcast Champ of the Week
Anxiety Is Not Always Anxiety: Understanding What’s Really Underneath Your Child’s Behavior with Dr. Pejman Katiraei.
This podcast was a beautiful summary on why it is important to find the root cause of a child’s behavior. The diagnosis may be helpful, but the key to lasting change is treating the underlying imbalances. Learn about some overlooked and underlying reasons that contribute to childhood anxiety and other behavioral diagnoses. (Link)
For more information on why mental health is really a brain health issue, and how essential oils can help click here.
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history, exposures. Please read my more detailed article on this subject here.
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
Thanks Pixabay and Canva.