Toxins and Hormone Health: A Healthy Gut During Perimenopause
Toxins and Hormone Health: It is no surprise that a properly functioning gut has a significant part in generating overall health. Your microbiome plays a crucial role in a wide range of functions, from regulating hormones to creating energy. It can also be a significant source of disease and dysfunction when it isn’t operating correctly. The gut microbiome also plays a crucial role in generating a smooth transition into perimenopause.
Today we will explore how your gut microbiome influences hormone health, and one of the top destroyers of gut health: toxins. We will highlight the key toxins to avoid to promote hormonal health, and the top ways to improve gut health.
How the Microbiome Influences Hormone Health
The latest science suggests that the gut microbiome plays a dominant role in the regulation of various hormones, including the management of estrogen, thyroid hormones, melatonin, and stress hormones like cortisol. Not only does it produce hormones, but it also communicates with the glands to inform them when and how much of each hormone should be created.
Toxins and Hormone Health: Thyroid Health
Low microbial diversity in the gut is linked to high thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. This low microbial diversity can contribute to hyperthyroidism. This thyroid disorder commonly affects women and can cause symptoms like anxiety, irritability, hair loss, and weight loss.
An imbalanced gut can conversely lead to hypothyroidism, caused when the gut produces too little TSH. Hypothyroidism is marked by dry skin, poor memory, constipation, sensitivity to cold, and rapid weight gain that is very difficult to lose.
The microbes in the gut are key regulators of estrogen. Estrogen is a prominent hormone in the female reproductive cycle and influences a wide range of modern diseases like PCOS, endometriosis, and breast cancer. Your microbiome produces an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase that converts estrogen into its active forms.
Another group of microbes in the gut is responsible for metabolizing estrogen, which is key to prevent the development of the aforementioned estrogen-dominant type illnesses.
Toxins and Hormone Health: Sleep
Sleep is king, and when it comes to perimenopause, this is especially true. Hormonal health hinges greatly on circadian health: the sleep-wake cycle internal body clock that you develop over time. Melatonin is the sleep hormones that signal your body; it’s time for bed. For the body to produce melatonin, there must be an abundance of serotonin available too.
Over 90% of your body’s serotonin is produced in the gut, and the production is impaired when the microbiome isn’t functioning optimally. Serotonin is also a mood-boosting hormone, so not only does it help you get a good night’s rest, but it also stimulates joy during the day. Win-win!
Toxins and Hormone Health: The Ultimate Microbiome Destroyers
Toxic exposure has one of the most profoundly negative impacts on your microbiome health. Environmental toxins alter the composition and metabolic activity of the gut microbiome, leaving you with a weaker gut and reduces species of microbes.
Toxins are like a drop of water in a bucket, although many may seem insignificant at the time, the bucket begins to fill up drop by drop. Once the bucket overflows, we begin to see the full range of modern illnesses develop.
Many of the intensely unpleasant symptoms that women experience during perimenopause and menopause are tied to toxicity, and it’s influence on hormonal health. Before assuming “this is just how it is,” consider adopting a toxin-free lifestyle and boosting gut resilience with some of the suggestions below.
The Top Ways Improve Gut Health and Boost Resilience Against Toxicity
Toxins and Hormone Health: Before exploring the top ways to improve gut health, we must highlight the importance of actually reducing the body’s exposure to toxins. The modern world that we live in is inevitably going to expose us to low levels of chronic toxin exposure (like air pollution), but avoiding the key gut-destroyers is a non-negotiable to cultivating gut health.
The top sources of toxin exposure that negatively influence the gut include:
- Amalgam (mercury) fillings
- Mold (at home or work)
- Drinking city tap water
- Conventional body care and cosmetic products
- Conventional sunscreen
- BPA in plastics
- Pesticides and herbicides in non-organic food
- GMO’s and hybridized foods
- Pharmaceutical drugs and antibiotics
Toxins and Hormone Health: Top Ways To Improve Gut Health
After removing (or seriously reducing) your exposure to the aforementioned gut-destroying toxins, it’s time to start incorporating habits to heal and improve gut health. Some of the top ways to do so include:
1. Reduce or Remove Processed Foods (Especially Sugars and Oils)
Processed foods are highly inflammatory and can lead to a reduction in ‘good’ bacteria. Processed sugars feed things like parasites and cancer, both of which are harmful to gut and overall health. By avoiding processed foods, we encourage a healthy GI tract.
The two main offenders, when it comes to processed foods, are sugars and seed/ vegetable oils. These two categories of food are incredibly inflammatory and should be avoided at all costs.
White sugar, agave, corn syrup, brown sugar, are examples of refined sugars. Vegetable and seed oils include soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and cottonseed oil.
2. Exercise Regularly
Studies suggest that regular exercise has a profoundly positive impact on microbiome health in a few different ways. Firstly, exercise can enhance the number of beneficial species of microbes in the gut. It also promotes movement within the gut, which supports digestion. Exercise also plays a crucial role in regulating hormones, managing weight, and promoting good mood– all of which are intricately connected to gut health.
It’s worth noting that you should always tailor your exercise routine to your body’s needs. Perimenopause can bring about periods of high and low energy– honor that. If your body is feeling hot, tired, or lethargic: opt for a long gentle walk, a swim, or a restorative yoga class. Take advantage of the high energy periods for bone-strengthening weight lifting sessions, or more vigorous exercise. Always listen to the body.
3. Consume a Wide Range of Pre- and Probiotic Foods
Consuming prebiotic and probiotic foods helps introduce new strains of bacteria into the body, as well as the types of nutrients that these bacterias need to survive. The key here is variety. Although a probiotic capsule can be beneficial in the short term, it can become problematic in the long run if you continue to take the same brand (or strain).
A healthy microbiome has thousands of different types of good bacteria. When we consume the same kind of kombucha, probiotic capsule, or sauerkraut– we limit our body’s exposure by overcrowding it with a single strain.
So although fermented foods can be great to promote new strains of bacteria in the gut, make sure to vary the types you consume. Opt for a wide range of types (sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, miso, etc.) as well as a variety of different brands.
4. Spend Time in Nature
The single best way to increase your guts strain of probiotics is actually to spend time outside in nature. Nature is alive, and there are infinite varieties of healthy bacteria found in plants, the soil, in the grass, trees, in the sand, in the water, and even floating around in the air.
Ideally, you want to expose yourself to a wide range of landscapes and spend time breathing in the air. Get barefoot, play in the dirt, lay in the grass, expose your skin to sunshine.
My Favorite Supplements for Detox, Gut Health, and Hormone Health:
Femicrine supports the normal body processes to regulate its hormonal cycles and balance. Femicrine is a uniquely designed formula combining a powerful blend of clinically researched phyto-nutrients and herbalomics supporting female endocrine health throughout the natural stages of menopause. Femicrine positively influences cellular status, healthy estrogen activity, feminine microbiome, and breast health.
Magnesium deficiency is a global epidemic. Magnesium chloride oil is by far my favorite product for managing PMS symptoms (I saved the best for last). Many women in our modern society are deficient in magnesium due to low dietary intake, depleted magnesium in our soil, modern stressors (stress depletes magnesium), carbonated beverages and coffee consumption, and a highly processed food, poor nutrient diet. Craving chocolate around PMS time? Chocolate is high in magnesium and our requirements for magnesium increase as we approach menstruation. In fact, serum magnesium levels tend to be lower as we approach menstruation. Magnesium lowers anxiety and prevents insomnia, and also acts as a diuretic to help with swollen breasts and abdomen.
For many of us struggling with digestive health issues, taking a supplement does not guarantee we are getting the nutrients from it. Topically, we can increase our magnesium levels, and start to feel better fast! When I approach my monthly cycle, my sleep becomes more disrupted. I use magnesium lotion on my breasts, lower abdomen, and inner thighs right before bed. It helps me with breast tenderness, cramping, and sleep latency. As my period approaches, and abdominal cramping become stronger, I find magnesium chloride bath soaks help tremendously with all over body aches and cramping. I feel it is one of the most essential minerals for our health and wellbeing, and most of us are deficient.
ION Gut Health
ION’s one of a kind formula creates the ideal environment in the gut for the tight junctions (cell membrane) to heal. Leaky gut is caused by a loosening of these tight junctions, which may result in various health concerns. By strengthening the intestinal tissue, ION helps maintain peak human health.
This daily supplement is designed to support the protection of the entire gastrointestinal (GI) tract against common toxins found in our food and environment, including
- Herbicides and pesticides in the food supply
- Antibiotics are taken directly or as a bi-product through factory-farmed animal products
- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) which go hand in hand with herbicides
- Gluten and other allergenic foods
Rather than attempting to treat any specific disease or illness, ION heals the body’s gateway: the gut. Until something penetrates your gut lining (and enters the bloodstream), it is in a way still outside your body. By helping to repair this gate (the tight junctions), your body is then able to strengthen the immune system and prevent illness, infection, and disease in the first place.
ION is a truly unique supplement, there is nothing else like it available. Although other products on the market contain some of the same raw materials as ION, many have been shown to cause significant levels of toxicity. Restore is scientifically proven to cause absolutely no toxicity in humans. It has the scientific backing and results of a pharmaceutical drug while having the low levels toxicity of a nutraceutical supplement.
CytoDetox® Liposomal Zeolite Clinoptilolite with Fulvates is a cutting-edge way to support the removal of environmental toxins like heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides, and biotoxins at the cellular level, safely and 100% naturally. CytoDetox contains Molecular Clinoptilolite Fragments that come from zeolites. Zeolites (Clinoptilolite) are natural minerals formed from fossilized volcanic ash and seawater that are known as nature’s detoxifier for the environment.
CytoDetox provides an all-inclusive detox support system with water-soluble molecular clinoptilolite fragments, larger clinoptilolite molecules and fulvates with the ability to travel beyond the colon and liver, supporting your body’s natural ability to detoxify throughout every cell. This zeolite clinoptilolite and liposomal technology contain ingredients provided by nature with no known allergens or side effects, and start working immediately.
Toxins and Hormone Health: References
Claus, Sandrine P, et al. “Erratum: The Gut Microbiota: a Major Player in the Toxicity of Environmental Pollutants?” Npj Biofilms and Microbiomes, vol. 3, no. 1, 2017, doi:10.1038/npjbiofilms.2017.1.
Costello, Mary-Ellen. “The Role of the Human Gut Microbiome in Ankylosing Spondylitits.” doi:10.14264/uql.2015.842.
Monda, Vincenzo, et al. “Exercise Modifies the Gut Microbiota with Positive Health Effects.” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, vol. 2017, 2017, pp. 1–8., doi:10.1155/2017/3831972.
Riscuta, Gabriela. “Probiotics and Cancer Prevention as a Part of the Healthy Microbiome.” Journal of Probiotics & Health, vol. 01, no. 03, 2013, doi:10.4172/2329-8901.1000e103.
“Structure, Function and Diversity of the Healthy Human Microbiome.” Nature, vol. 486, no. 7402, 2012, pp. 207–214., doi:10.1038/nature11234.
Tsiaoussis, John, et al. “Effects of Single and Combined Toxic Exposures on the Gut Microbiome: Current Knowledge and Future Directions.” Toxicology Letters, vol. 312, 2019, pp. 72–97., doi:10.1016/j.toxlet.2019.04.014.
Wilson, Ian D., and Jeremy K. Nicholson. “Gut Microbiome Interactions with Drug Metabolism, Efficacy, and Toxicity.” Translational Research, vol. 179, 2017, pp. 204–222., doi:10.1016/j.trsl.2016.08.002.