Lower Your Stress Levels
Chronic high levels of stress are hard on your whole body, including your gut. Some ways to lower stress may include meditation, walking, getting a massage, spending time with friends or family, diffusing essential oils, decreasing caffeine intake, laughing, yoga, or having a pet. Here are 10 ways to reduce feeling stressed.
The Gut Microbiome Can Raise Stress Levels
Norepinephrine and epinephrine are two hormones often associated with our fight-or-flight response. When these hormones are increased in the body, they cause an acute stress response, which leads it:
- Increased heart rate
While you need some norepinephrine and epinephrine to keep you safe in an emergency, too much for too long can cause stress, anxiety, and depression. It can be miserable to feel overly anxious with no real reason behind it. Not only that, certain bacteria have been associated with higher levels of norepinephrine and epinephrine.
E. coli,Salmonella, and Pseudomonas have all been associated with prolonged high levels of norepinephrine and epinephrine in the body. Whats worse is once these harmful bacteria have a stronghold on your gut microbiome, some of the microbes sense the epinephrine hormones and it triggers their virulence gene expression making them even more potent and powerful.
The effect of chronic stress on the gut is bidirectional. The hormone that releases the stimulus for cortisol, corticotropin releasing hormone , can poke holes in the gut lining, leading to increased intestinal permeability. The process is mediated by mast cells in the gut wall.
Free Phone Consultation With Our New Patient Coordinator
Our providers at Leigh Ann Scott, M.D. are devoted to understanding our patients health concerns and symptoms. We use scientific-based protocols to find the root cause of hormonal imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies, and more. We believe that spending quality, personalized time with each patient provides the necessary foundation to help you achieve optimal health and wellness. Our system incorporates provider consultation, comprehensive health assessment, and laboratory testing in a warm and caring environment.
Contact our New Patient Coordinator for a Free Phone Consultation. She can explain our protocols and fees in more detail, answer any questions or concerns you have, and explain how our approach can help with hormonal balance, anti-aging, and disease prevention so that you can enjoy a vibrant and healthy life!
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Pms And Low Sex Drive
Low testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone are all associated with a decreased in both men and women. This is especially common after age 50 when estrogen and testosterone production declines. Since estrogen is one of the main hormones regulating a womans menstrual cycle a decrease in production can also lead to irregular periods that are too long, too short, unpredictable, heavy, or painful, infertility, hot flashes, mood swings, or painful intercourse.
What Does Having A Leaky Gut Mean
The stomach naturally absorbs small nutrients and vitamins that fuel our bodies. It plays a very important role in overall body function and you always want to make sure that your stomach, intestines, and digestive system are in tip top condition. Both the stomach and intestinal wall have regulating features which determine the function of the lining and exactly what is absorbed into the body through that wall.
Unfortunately, individuals who suffer from gluten sensitivity often have issues with Leaky Gut Syndrome. Gluten sensitivity causes cells to release zonulin, a protein known for breaking down the intestinal lining, changing its basic function, and affecting the absorption of nutrients and vitamins.
Aside from gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease, there are a number of other factors that can lead to the release of zonulin, including infections, old age, and even stress levels.
This breakdown of the intestinal lining can be quite uncomfortable and often leads to pain in the stomach region. The process also causes a number of symptoms which you or your doctor can use to identify leaky gut as the problem. Here are the common symptoms:
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How Do You Know When Your Leaky Gut Is Repaired
Following this protocol takes commitment, so of course, you want to know if all your hard work is making a difference. While there are lab tests available, I typically didnt use them in my clinic to diagnose leaky gut.
Once youve followed my protocol to repair your gut, your symptoms are the strongest indication of whether or not your gut is healthy. Here are a few good indicators you are on the right track:
Repairing your gut is the first step in restoring your health. Be sure to review my article on common mistakes people make in their leaky gut treatment. By overcoming this condition you can reverse your symptoms, reduce your risk for a number of chronic illnesses, and start living a fruitful life!
Types Of Food For Gut Health
Diet and gut health are very closely linked. Avoiding processed foods, high-fat foods, and foods high in refined sugars is extremely important to maintaining a healthy microbiome, as these foods destroy good bacteria and promote growth of damaging bacteria. There are also a number of foods you can eat that actively promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, contributing to your overall health. These foods include:
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Presence Of Acne And Other Skin Issues
Another symptom of Leaky Gut Syndrome is the sudden appearance of acne and other skin issues such as eczema. These breakouts will usually be sudden and unexpected given the historical health of your skin. Acne and other skin issues can arise out of nowhere and, when combined with other conditions, can be one of several symptoms present.
What Is The Gut
Gut Health and Hormones are they related? Recent studies are making it more and more clear that the state of your gut, healthy or unhealthy, has a definite impact on your hormone levels and imbalances.
The strength of your immune system is largely determined by the healthy state of your gut. The immune system doesnt just ward off colds and flu its the gatekeeper for overall health. The state of gut health affects almost every physiological process in the human body. An unhealthy gut causes hormonal disruptions and chronic inflammation which can precede serious diseases such as diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, cancer, and even Alzheimers.
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Learn More With Overcoming Estrogen Dominance
The body has an amazing ability to heal. We just need to give it the right resources.
In Overcoming Estrogen Dominance, my goal is to empower and give you the tools to take control of your hormones and health.
More than 70% of women experience estrogen dominance. The symptoms range from lumpy and fibrocystic breasts to thyroid nodules, hot flashes, fibroids, uterine polyps, painful, heavy or irregular periods to infertility and miscarriages, from mood swings to insomnia, weight gain to fatigue.
So many women have experienced the pain and frustration that comes when they feel their symptoms and complaints are dismissed or minimized. This is particularly true for women who are experiencing the symptoms of hormone imbalance. Even when doctors do offer treatment, its typically in the form of prescription medication or invasive surgical procedures.
In Overcoming Estrogen Dominance, I hope to show that those extreme interventions are often unnecessary, and to give women a roadmap to reverse estrogen dominance using food, herbs, supplements and natural protocols to rebalance hormones.
To get your copy of Overcoming Estrogen Dominance, go here.
Gut Microbiome And Thyroid Hormones
The thyroid gland, that butterfly-shaped organ located in the lower front of the neck, is essential for life. Thyroid-stimulating hormone , excreted by the pituitary gland, stimulates the thyroid gland to make triiodothyronine and thyroxine .
These thyroid hormones affect every tissue in your body and perform several essential functions. For instance, they help regulate the heart rate, body temperature, brain function, and metabolism.
Altered composition of gut bacteria is associated with high TSH levels. If you have too much TSH, your body may produce lower levels of T3 and T4. This can lead to hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism can increase the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions.
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Probiotics For A Healthy Gut
Along with a healthy diet, probiotics can also help balance glucose levels. One review of 17 randomized controlled trials found a probiotic could modestly improve regulating glycemic control or blood sugar. Left uncontrolled, these imbalances could lead to insulin resistance and chronic disorders including diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
The health benefits of probiotics go far beyond your gut. They can optimize your immune health, improve cholesterol, and help prevent diseases including cancer. One randomized placebo-controlled trial gave 60 overweight healthy adults probiotics. After supplementing with probiotics, they had improved health markers including reduced triglycerides and inflammatory markers as well as an overall more favorable lipid profile.
Probiotic supplements arent all created equal. To choose the best probiotic, consider the following criteria:
- Additional gut-supporting nutrients: Among its benefits, vitamin D actually a hormone, not a vitamin can support immune function, reduce inflammation, and protect the gut wall against problems such as leaky gut. The ideal supplement, then, contains the right blend of probiotics, prebiotics, and vitamin D.
How The Gut Affects Estrogen Levels
You actually produce three main forms of estrogen estrone, estradiol, and estriol. Though these are often associated with women, estrogens arent just created by female reproductive organs. Estrone, estradiol, and estriol are also generated by the gut microbiome. In fact, a healthy microbiome produces more estriol. For a long time estriol wasnt given much attention because its the weakest of the three. It was believed to be only present during pregnancy, which we now know is not the entire story.
The other two estrogens were much louder meaning more biochemically potent when they bind to an estrogen receptor so they got most of the attention. It turns out that because estriol is weak, its incredibly beneficial to the body. Basically, you get the benefits of estrogen with estriol without as many negative effects . A healthy gut microbiome produces beneficial estriol and maintains a healthy balance of the other estrogen metabolites.
Not only does your gut microbiome help create more estriol and maintain estrogen balance overall, a specific group of microbes called the estrobolome reduces harmful side effects of more potent estrogen. Your estrobolome helps metabolize excess estrogen to keep it from causing problems. Thats great news because too much estrogen can cause weight gain, mood issues, painful menstrual cycles, and potentially breast, endometrial, and prostate cancer.
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What Is The Gut Microbiome
The gut microbiome is the community of microbes residing in your gut. There are trillions of microbes in your gastrointestinal tract, 90% of which are bacterial. This community is composed of a diverse blend of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa that have a beneficial and detrimental impact on human health.
The key to good health is maintaining a balance of good and bad bacteria, with the good kind outnumbering the bad. As only about 10% of gut bacteria are thought to be detrimental and the remaining 90% beneficial, this shouldnt be a problem.
But poor quality diet, advancing age, environmental toxins, stress, and other factors can contribute to an imbalance of gut microbiota known as gut dysbiosis.
Where Do I Start Gut Bacteria Or Hormones
So you know you have hormone problems but where do you start when trying to fix them? Should I do an advanced hormone test like the DUTCH test OR of should I start with gut function and do an advanced stool test like the G.I Map test?
This is a question that I am often asked, and while there is no simple answer because everyones situation is different, generally I recommend starting with the G.I Map test.
Because if you can optimize your gut function often everything else falls into place and the hormones balance also improves.
In a perfect world, it would be great to do both tests as they would give us the full picture of what is happening with your gut bacteria and hormones .. But these advanced tests are not cheap so if you are going to choose one over the other I would go for the G.I Map stool test.
Need help deciding? Schedule a consultationand I will assess past test results, your signs, and symptoms and help guide you on the best treatment options and tests to do.
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How Does Leaky Gut Lead To Weight Gain
Intestinal permeability can lead to low grade inflammation and has been cited as an important preventable risk factor in obesity prevention. In addition, doctors associate leaky gut with increased insulin resistance.
When your cells are unable to take up the sugar they need due to a poor insulin response, the result is an increase in fat deposits, especially in the liver. Insulin resistance is heightened when there is an imbalance in gut flora.
The gut is a less friendly place for good bacteria when there is inflammation present. Disruption of your microbiome along with leaky gut lends itself to poor carbohydrate metabolism resulting in weight gain.
Fat Cells Increase Leptin
Additionally, the increased number of fat cells release a hormone called leptin. When your leptin levels are high your brain receives a message that you are full and do not need to eat anymore. Over time, the body can become resistant to consistently high levels of leptin, known as leptin resistance. This leaves you feeling hungry, even if you just ate.
So you’re left with an increased appetite, which alone would cause you to want to eat more. But leptin also plays a role in the perception of food as a reward. When you reach for that second serving you feel rewarded.
You continue to eat, which builds more fats cells and creates more leptin. But your brain can’t get the signal leptin is sending so you continue to eat and gain weight.
Manage + Mitigate Stress
By this point Im pretty sure we all know chronic stress isnt good for us, but did you know its a huge trigger for gut and hormone imbalances? This is because it can actually alter the natural balance of healthy bacteria in your gut, leading to dysbiosis, disrupted nutrient absorption, leaky gut and impaired thyroid conversion.
While life will always throw us curveballs, I encourage clients to stay ahead of the game by incorporating routines and having tools on hand to better manage and cope with stress. This could be different for every person, but a few tools and techniques I love include exercise/movement, getting outside/in nature, dancing or listening to music, connecting with friends/loved ones, meditation or deep breathing practices, therapy, EFT, cooking or baking, and setting firm boundaries around work, social media use, etc.
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What Causes A Leaky Gut
There are a number of triggers for a leaky gut, but the primary cause would be a poor diet. Diets that are low in probiotics, fiber, protein, and healthy fats are going to wreak havoc on your gut health. In other words, if you are eating junk food and fast food non-stop, as well as washing that down with alcohol, youre going to be doing untold damage to your digestive tract. Other causes include antibiotic medications, acetaminophen, aspirin, chronic stress, and disrupted sleep cycles.
People with gluten intolerance usually suffer from a leaky gut as well, because gluten increases the permeability of the intestinal wall.
Signs You May Have Leaky Gut Syndrome
In Health and Wellness by Karen Eisenbraun, CHNC May 13th, 2019
Do you suffer from leaky gut syndrome? This common health condition can cause a range of health symptoms, from headaches to digestive problems, and its closely linked to dozens of other chronic health issues.
The term leaky gut is fairly new within the medical community, and many physicians dont recognize it as a legitimate health issue. But leaky gut has long been called by another term: intestinal permeability.
Its very common for anyone eating a Standard American Diet high in poor-quality meats, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods to experience digestive issues and intestinal inflammation. But just because these issues are common, that doesnt mean we have to live with them. It is possible to heal a leaky gut, and to resolve many of the health conditions that often come along with it.
Need help healing leaky gut syndrome and losing weight? Contact us for a no-cost consultation!
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What Causes Leaky Gut Other Triggers
There are more factors apart from food that can contribute to leaky gut.
- Chronic Constipation: Research shows this can lead to changes in your gut flora that pave the way for leaky gut and immune system reactions, shows research.For a quick test, try eating corn on the cob or taking charcoal tablets and seeing how long it takes for them to appear in your stool. If it is more than 24 hours, your gut transit time is slow, which is not healthy. I talked about natural ways of overcoming constipation on my Friday Live Q& As, watch it here.
- Diarrhea: Bowel motions that are too loose or send you racing to the toilet several times a day, go hand in hand with increased gut permeability, shows this research.
- PPIs: Proton pump inhibitor medications for acid reflux reduce the normal acid balance in your stomach. Far from improving issues, over time lowered stomach acid can predispose you to inflammation, food sensitivities and other immune responses. For natural ways to address heartburn which also help to naturally balance hormones check out my post on the Acid Reflux and Thyroid Nutrition connection.
Signs Of An Unhealthy Gut
The biggest cause of an unhealthy gut is regularly eating heavily processed foods, sugars, refined carbs, bad fats, and drinking alcohol. Taking antibiotics can also lead to dysbiosis, as these medications kill both the good and bad bacteria in your gut.
Symptoms of an unhealthy gut vary widely and may include:
- Frequent gas, bloating, and/or belching
- Stomach pain/cramps
But how does gut health affect your hormones?
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