Our microbiome (bacteria and microbes that reside in and on our bodies – mainly mouth, gut, vagina and skin) have tremendous potential to impact our physiology, both in health and disease. Gut microbiome is a key regulator of circulating oestrogens (which in turn, can also affect microbiome). Some of the microbes (collectively known as estrobolome) are responsible for the metabolism of oestrogen. When the gut microbiome is healthy, the estrobolome produces just the right amount of beta-glucoranidase to maintain oestrogen homoeostasis.
A disruption in gut microbiota (aka dysbiosis) can result in decreased or increased circulating oestrogens, and lead to oestrogen-related pathologies. Moreover, in postmenopausal women, estrobolome disruption is associated with increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
What causes dysbiosis?
The delicate balance of our microbiome can be altered by many dietary and lifestyle factors. Constant high levels of stress, gastric bypass surgery, antacids, chemicals, food choices, chronic constipation, oral contraceptives, antibiotics and painkillers, all have a capacity to change the healthy balance of the digestive tract.
How can dysbiosis be treated?
Therapeutic diets that limit sugars and carbohydrates are particularly successful, especially when used alongside probiotics and prebiotics.
Although more research is required, recent studies indicate that it may be possible to balance the microbiome and estrobolome and treat estrogen-related pathologies through probiotic supplementation.