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The Gut and Reproductive Hormones_Final

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>> Welcome back. As you've learned, the body is a complex interconnected system. An imbalance in one system of the body can create a domino effect leading to imbalances elsewhere. This is why systems as seemingly unrelated as the gut and the reproductive system can actually influence and affect one another. In this lecture, we'll take a closer look at how the gut affects the reproductive system and how sex hormones can influence the gut. Let's start by talking about estrogen. Estrogen is metabolized by a large group of bacterial genes collectively known as the estrobolome. Their main job is to keep estrogen levels balanced. Healthy gut bacteria will ensure that neither too much nor too little estrogen is in the system. However, when the estrobolome becomes off-balance, it can activate too much estrogen leading to estrogen dominance. Why does the estrobolome get off track? For the same reasons that any gut dysbiosis occurs, poor food choices, stress, overuse of antibiotics, and in women, the use of birth control pills. Estrogen can become dominant in two ways, when there's too much estrogen in the body, or when there is not enough progesterone to balance out the estrogen. Either way, symptoms of estrogen dominance include low sex drive, irregular menstrual periods, bloating, mood swings, weight gain, brain fog, fatigue, insomnia, and PMS. Now we'd like to clarify that an imbalanced estrobolome isn't the only way that estrogen dominance can occur. It can also be caused by exposure to endocrine disruptors, high stress levels, and a diet high in processed foods and low in fiber. But if you think about it, all of these factors are influenced by the gut too. Estrogen dominance is more common in women but it can happen to men too. That's right. Men produce estrogen too and in some cases too much. Under stressful conditions, the body converts testosterone to estrogen. This will cause men to develop estrogenic qualities. So symptoms of estrogen dominance in men include a loss of libido, low sperm count, breast enlargement, and infertility. The gut has the major task of processing excess estrogen so that it can leave the system. So active estrogen passes through the liver where it's converted into a less active form called estrogen metabolites. So, two major types of estrogen metabolites are the C2 form and the C16 form. C2 is a very weak estrogen, but it has been found to play a role in preventing breast cancer, so you want more of that. C16 is much more active and has been found to increase the risk of breast cancer. So the goal is for the liver to form more of those C2 metabolites and not C16. So you can support the liver by eating more cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, decreasing excess body fat, improving the health of the microbiome, and getting regular physical activity. A healthier liver makes healthier estrogen metabolites. Estrogen metabolites pass through the liver a second time at which point they become inactive. It's important for the liver to be healthy so that it can process out excess estrogen and toxins. After the estrogens pass through the liver and enter the gut, the estrobolome comes into the picture. Inactive estrogen is carried out of the liver and the bile into the GI tract. Some of it gets absorbed into the kidneys to be passed out through the urine. The rest passes through the GI tract where it encounters the estrobolome. If the bacterial population is balanced, a small amount of estrogen is reactivated and absorbed back into the body, the rest is passed out of the body through the stool. But if the estrobolome is unbalanced with the wrong kind of bacteria, this bacterial population can affect the amount of estrogen that's reactivated and reabsorbed back into the body. As well as how much is passed out of the body through the stool. The speed of the GI motility can also have an effect on how much estrogen is reactivated. If the transit time in the colon is slowed down due to severe constipation or too much stress, the bacteria in there have more of an opportunity to reactivate estrogen. And if the gut is inflamed, it's going to be leaky allowing the activated estrogen to leak back into the system. So let's recap the main points we've covered so far. A healthy gut microbiome will help keep estrogen levels balanced. An unhealthy gut can cause excess estrogen in both men and women. The liver plays a big role in this, so it's important to keep this critical organ in good health. Now let's talk about the connection between the gut conditions and sex hormones. Did you know that irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is more common in women than men? So when we look at the way that hormones affect gut function, this makes sense. Through the gut-brain axis, estrogen directly influences abdominal pain and bowel movements. IBS symptoms can also fluctuate during different phases of the menstrual cycle. High levels of estrogen can slow transit time in the colon and progesterone can slow motility when it's high and speed it up when it's low. Hormone imbalance can be thrown off by a leaky gut. We mentioned how a leaky gut can allow estrogens to reenter the blood instead of being processed out, but there are other effects that leaky gut can have too. Let's take a look. When the gut wall allows large particles, including lipopolysaccharides or LPS, to escape and cross the gut barrier, it wreaks havoc on the hypothalamus. The body sees the LPS as intruders and believes it has an infection. As a result, it tries to conserve energy on non-vital processes. The hypothalamus signals the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal or HPG axis to decrease the production of progesterone. For women, this can result in irregular or absent ovulation. It also increases the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women because progesterone is essential to maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Also the decline of progesterone will lead to estrogen dominance. Remember, estrogen dominance doesn't necessarily require an excess of estrogen, it can occur as a result of an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone. In men, dysfunction in the HPG axis can cause a decrease in testosterone. Their HPG axis begins converting testosterone into estrogen, resulting in estrogen dominance. This can result in the decreased or absent sperm production, low libido, growth of breast tissue, and weight gain. Lastly, let's talk about polycystic ovarian syndrome known as PCOS for short. Inflammation and dysbiosis in the gut can contribute to PCOS. In men, inflammation decreases their testosterone production, but in women with PCOS, inflammation increases testosterone. That excess testosterone is a hallmark symptom of PCOS. Women with PCOS may experience weight gain, PMS symptoms, hair loss, and decreased or absent ovulation. There are also metabolic effects including blood sugar imbalance and insulin resistance. Over time, the insulin resistance can lead to metabolic syndrome increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. While the development of PCOS still isn't fully understood, many women find that improving gut inflammation and rebalancing the microbiome can help reverse its effects. To recap, sex hormones affect the health of the gut, and gut health can have an impact on reproductive health. The gut and the estrobolome play a large role in how much estrogen enters the body in an active state. When the gut can't properly regulate estrogen and remove it from the body, estrogen dominance can occur. Estrogen levels can influence IBS symptoms and leaky gut can have negative impacts on men and women's reproductive health and sex hormones. And gut health can both influence and occur as a result of PCOS. We're learning that inflammation and dysbiosis of the gut can have far reaching consequences and can also be influenced by imbalances elsewhere in the body. The most important takeaway point from all of this is that gut health is an important part of any healing process. Before this lecture, did you know there was such a direct connection between gut health and sex hormones? Have you ever noticed a connection in your own life? We encourage you to join the conversation in the Facebook group and connect with one another to gain new insights. Thanks for joining, until next time.

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Duration: 9 minutes and 32 seconds
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Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 5
Posted by: ninaz on Mar 27, 2018

The Gut and Reproductive Hormones_Final

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