We all expect that as we age, our hormones are going to change and adapt. Although we typically associate these symptoms with menopause and other aging conditions, hormonal shifts can occur at any time. In fact, nearly 80% of women will experience a hormonal imbalance at some point in their lives.
But despite this being so common, it is rarely part of public discussion. In a recent survey, more than half of women stated they felt that the physical and mental repercussions of hormonal imbalances weren’t spoken about enough. With recent trends in nutrition, women’s health, and aging research it’s no wonder we’re seeing a surge in supplements that are specifically targeting hormonal changes.
This has left many scientists trying to sort through the root cause of hormonal imbalances and how they are related to diet and lifestyle. Based on what scientists now believe about the gut microbiome – the source might be closer than we think.
That’s why recently our team of Nutritionists, RDs, and wellness junkies tried out the Viome Full Body Intelligence Test to see what insights we got from the test and what supplements might be recommended to help us promote a healthy gut and endocrine system.
So what does our gut have to do with night sweats, weight gain, skin issues, fertility concerns, fatigue, constipation, and depression all from an imbalance in your hormones? The answer is actually in the biological connections between the gut microbiome and your endocrine system.
What Causes Hormone Imbalances?
Our hormones are regulated by our endocrine system, a series of organs that work to produce our hormones and manage how they are dispersed into our system. They control many of our growth and development patterns like reproduction, sleep, mood, and sexual function. Without our endocrine system, we wouldn’t be able to regulate our metabolism and or even know when we are hungry, not to mention keep us warm or manage our blood pressure.
Our endocrine system is made up of several organs and glands ranging from our sex organs to the thyroid and adrenal glands. They also include tissues like our fat and organs like the pancreas. The endocrine system works together to orchestrate various hormones responsible for our metabolism, fertility, energy storage, growth, body temperature, and other biological mechanisms.
Although scientists have known about the endocrine system for some time, new evidence has shown that microorganisms inside the digestive tract may also be contributing to the symphony. Various microbes contribute to regulating the production and even circulation of various hormones. So when your gut microbiome is imbalanced, you have a leaky gut, and your diet isn’t promoting healing and recovery, these factors can combine and stimulate changes in your endocrine system.
What does the Gut Microbiome Do?
The gut microbiome is made up of millions of microorganisms found in our digestive tract that include bacteria, viruses, archaea, fungi, and more. Together, they colonize and thrive inside our gut to help us break down foods, compete against pathogens, support our body in diverse ways, and even keep us healthy. Studies have linked the benefits of the gut microbiome to our immune health, metabolic health, brain health, endocrine health, and more.
The foods we eat help to keep our gut flora fed and happy, but how healthy our diet is, is a major contributing factor to the health of the gut microbial system. Specific issues in our food and lifestyle can account for problematic changes and reduce the ability of our gut microbiome to do ‘healthy’ activities. Instead, they can cause disruptions and even damage.
Leaky gut syndrome, for example, occurs when an imbalance in the gut microbiome causes damage to the intestinal lining, allowing foreign bacteria and toxins to enter our bloodstream. These effects can disrupt our endocrine system and even result in inflammation throughout our body.
How the Gut Microbiome Impacts Estrogen
Estrogen is a key sex hormone that helps support our endocrine system when balanced correctly. It is responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle, affecting the reproductive tract, the urinary tract, the heart and blood vessels, bones, breasts, skin, hair, mucous membranes, pelvic muscles, and the brain. Dysregulated estrogen is one of the top reasons for hormonal imbalance.
So if we know that having a balanced gut promotes balance in our body and in our hormones, how do gut microbes affect estrogen? Certain microbial populations are actually directly capable of metabolizing various sex hormones, including estrogen.
These gut microbes produce beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme that can increase levels of free estrogen in circulating blood. When our gut microbiome is healthy and balanced, we can regulate the right level of estrogen within the body. But when we have too much inflammation, it disrupts the normal flow and dysregulates estrogen levels.
What Does Viome Do?
The company Viome has a number of microbiome tests that assess how these microorganisms may be affecting your body, what problems might be occurring, and how you may use personalized dietary recommendations to promote beneficial changes.
Each and every person has a unique gut microbiome, like a fingerprint. So choosing the healthiest foods based on someone else’s recommendations may not be as effective for getting your health on track. And if you’re experiencing problems regulating your hormones, your needs are even more unique.
Viome recently launched their Full Body Intelligence which combines a stool sample (for your gut microbiome), a blood sample (to see how your human cells are functioning), and now a saliva sample (to assess your oral microbiome) to create a comprehensive evaluation of your own unique health profile. This allows them to categorize foods into four categories (Superfood, Enjoy, Minimize, and Avoid) that tell you exactly what you need to help begin your journey back to balance.
What are Types of Foods or Supplements Viome Might Recommend for Hormones
Viome analyses each individual to determine how different ingredients might interact with your current lifestyle, medical history, conditions, and state of your body. With over 200 different foods and access to almost 400 different supplement ingredients, you can expect your recommendations will be specific to you.
However, some of the foods and supplements you may come across specific to regulating female hormones include:
- Omega 3’s
- Vitamin E
- … and more.
Who Would Benefit from Viome?
If your gut is experiencing inflammation and causing an imbalance in your microbes and hormone production, you may benefit from precision insights. Your diet can be a powerful asset in stabilizing your hormones, and specific supplements may even help. Viome can analyze your gut microbiome and identify patterns of activity that may be disrupting what is happening inside you.
But the first step to determining what you need to help regulate your hormones is using your own biological data. What is happening inside you may be common among many women, but it’s also unique to you.
Cost and Where to Buy
Viome’s tests are available at their official website. Here you can decide which might best suit your budget or how much you’d like to learn. After receiving your results, you’ll find your food and nutrient/supplement recommendations listed on your profile. From there you can even order subscription-based personalized supplements that include pre-and probiotics, as well as precision supplement formulations specific to your own individual needs.
Final Thoughts: Is Viome Worth It For Hormonal Health?
Absolutely! Hormone health is linked to your gut health and without knowing and understanding your gut health, you might not be able to optimize your hormones. By taking a holistic approach to your overall wellness, you can experience whole-body wellness from the inside out, and the information you can gather from Viome will arm you with the knowledge and personalized recommendations you’ll need to look and feel your absolute best.
I have tried Viome for myself and loved reading the results and seeing the customized recommendations. Plus, Viome makes it incredibly simple to get the supplements and support you need, which feels like a breath of fresh air in the over-complicated health and wellness industry.
Viome Gut Health Test