Before we discuss what is the estrobolome, let’s first dive into the three forms of estrogen.
Estrone (E1) – mostly produced in the ovaries, as well as adipose tissue, and adrenal glands
Estradiol (E2) – this is the strongest form of estrogen. It plays a vital role in reproductive tissues, as well as bone growth, cardiovascular health, and cognitive function. This is most abundant during oru reproductive years.
Estriol (E3) – least potent form of estrogen and is predominant in pregnancy.
Liver is where all hormones are metabolized – so liver health is important! come join me for a liver detox
What happens if estrogen is too high or too low?
Low estrogen levels can lead to hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep disturbances, mood swings, low libido, urinary tract infections, and loss of bone density. This is what happens during menopause!
Excess estrogen can cause symptoms of breast pain, irregular menstrual cycles, heavy and/or painful cycles, mood swings, acne, headaches, and weight gain. When we have excess estrogen levels, we can see patients become predisposed to uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and reproductive cancers.
The estrobolome is a group of bacteria that lives in our gut microbiome, whose products are capable of metabolizing estrogen. The goal is for estrogens to be excreted in our bowel movements, however they can get reabsorbed back into our system, which can lead to estrogen dominance if our gut isn’t right! The estrobolome gives us insight into how poor gut health impacts our hormones. The estrobolome creates an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase, which helps to break down estrogen. Too much of this enzyme activity can create increased circulating estrogen levels for reabsorption and not through excretion. Then gut dysbiosis can fuel the fire of hormonal imbalance and estrogen dominance. That is why gastrointestinal health is so important!
There is evidence that a compromised estrobolome in postmenopausal women can be associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis, obesity, and cardiovascular disease due to the low-estrogen and imbalance gut function. There’s also evidence that in an altered gut microbiota of cancer patients, there may be an increased beta-glucuronidase activity and therefore increased levels of circulating estrogen, which can promote cell proliferation in estrogen-sensitive tissues.
So what can we do to help our estrobolome?!
Much like the rest of the microbiome, the estrobolome is easily influenced by factors such as diet, lifestyle, antibiotic use, age, stress, environmental toxins, inflammation, and liver health as well as exogenous hormones (think xenoestrogens). Check out the next post on all things xenoestrogens and how to reduce exposure!
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