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Balancing Hormones Naturally: How Gut Health Influences Estrogen Level

Balancing Hormones Naturally: How Gut Health Influences Estrogen Levels

April 08, 2024

Balancing Hormones Naturally: How Gut Health Influences Estrogen Levels

When it comes to optimizing hormone balance and health in the reproductive years, it is crucial to understand the intricate connections between gut health and estrogen.

The connection between digestive health and estrogen plays a pivotal role in hormone balance, fertility optimization, and overall well-being. If you are actively tracking your cycles and are keen to enhance your fertility journey, delving into the impact of gut health on estrogen balance will likely be an essential factor to address.

In this article, we'll explore 3 main ways in which your gut health can significantly influence estrogen levels, overall hormone balance and subsequently affect your fertility… (and what you can do about it!)

1. Microbiome Balance and Estrogen Metabolism

The gut microbiome, made up of trillions of microorganisms, is a vast ecosystem that directly influences various aspects of health, including estrogen metabolism. Within the gut, there exists a delicate balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria. An imbalance in the types of bacteria, called dysbiosis, can directly impact estrogen metabolism.

Here's the way to picture it: In our gut, there's a bustling community of bacteria, some of which are like our hormone's best friends. They work tirelessly to break down estrogen into a gentler form, which our bodies bid adieu to. However, when the not-so-friendly bacteria decide to throw a bash, things can get a bit chaotic. This can throw off our estrogen balance, leading to issues like irregular periods, mood swings, and fertility challenges. 

Did You Know: There is also mounting evidence that the imbalanced gut microbiome’s impact on estrogen could potentially contribute to conditions like endometriosis and PCOS.

What Can You Do To Support Your Gut?

To support a healthy microbiome and optimize estrogen metabolism, focus on incorporating probiotic-rich foods like: 

  • yogurt
  • kefir
  • sauerkraut
  • kimchi

Additionally, consuming fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes nourishes beneficial gut bacteria, promoting a harmonious gut environment that supports optimal estrogen balance.

2. Inflammation, Gut Permeability, and Estrogen Recirculation

Chronic inflammation and increased gut permeability (leaky gut) can create a cascade of effects that impact estrogen levels and overall hormonal equilibrium. Inflammation disrupts the specific pathways involved in estrogen metabolism, leading to alterations in hormone production,transport, and clearance.

Here's the way to picture it: When our gut barrier isn't at its best, it's like leaving the front door wide open for troublemakers like toxins, pesky pathogens, and undigested food bits to waltz right into our bloodstream. Cue the alarm bells! This invasion can set off our immune system, stirring up even more inflammation and potentially messing with how our estrogen moves around. Instead of making a graceful exit, some of those estrogens decide to take a detour and get reabsorbed because of this compromised gut situation. And voilà, we're left with higher-than-ideal estrogen levels.

What Can You Do To Support Your Gut?

To mitigate inflammation and support gut integrity, prioritize an anti-inflammatory diet rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and phytonutrients. Incorporate foods like:

  • fatty fish
  • leafy greens
  • berries
  • turmeric
  • green tea

Additionally, consider incorporating gut-supportive supplements like glutamine, quercetin, and curcumin, which can help strengthen the gut barrier and reduce inflammation.

3. Liver Health, Detoxification, and Estrogen Clearance

The liver plays an essential role in estrogen metabolism and detoxification. It processes and eliminates excess hormones from the body, ensuring a balance in estrogen levels (among other hormones). However, poor liver function can impede this process, leading to estrogen accumulation and potential hormonal imbalances.

Here's the way to picture it: Our gut and our liver are like best buds, always looking out for each other. When our gut is in tip-top shape, it sends over all the good stuff—like those helpful bacterial byproducts and nasty toxins—to our liver for a detox party. But when things go awry in our gut, like when there's a bit of chaos with our gut buddies or some inflammation causing trouble, it can throw a wrench in the works for our liver. And that means our liver might struggle to clear out estrogen like the champ it usually is.  A happy gut equals a happy liver!

What Can You Do To Support Your Gut?

To support liver health and optimize estrogen clearance, prioritize a nutrient-dense diet that includes cruciferous vegetables like:

  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • brussels sprouts

These vegetables contain compounds like indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and sulforaphane, which support liver detoxification pathways involved in estrogen metabolism.

The intricate interplay between gut health and estrogen levels can significantly influence hormone balance, fertility optimization, and overall well-being for women. By nurturing a healthy gut microbiome, reducing inflammation, supporting gut integrity, and prioritizing liver health, you can positively impact estrogen metabolism and enhance your fertility journey!

Assessing + supporting gut health can be a very effective way to support hormone balance. Remember, small changes in lifestyle and dietary habits can yield significant benefits in achieving hormonal harmony and reproductive wellness!

Dr. Kelsey Stang is a naturopathic physician committed to empowering women through the many transitions their bodies will take through education + a root cause medicine approach. She is the creator of Fertile Future, a comprehensive approach to achieving optimal preconception health for pregnancy + beyond. You can learn more about her offerings at www.drkelseystang.com and connect with her on Instagram here. 

*This blog is intended for educational purposes only. Always check with your healthcare provider before trying anything new.






Salliss ME, Farland LV, Mahnert ND, Herbst-Kralovetz MM. The role of gut and genital microbiota and the estrobolome in endometriosis, infertility and chronic pelvic pain. Hum Reprod Update. 2021 Dec 21;28(1):92-131. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmab035. PMID: 34718567.

Ervin SM, Li H, Lim L, Roberts LR, Liang X, Mani S, Redinbo MR. Gut microbial β-glucuronidases reactivate estrogens as components of the estrobolome that reactivate estrogens. J Biol Chem. 2019 Dec 6;294(49):18586-18599. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA119.010950. Epub 2019 Oct 21. PMID: 31636122; PMCID: PMC6901331.

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