People who are dealing with some kind of hormonal imbalance often ask why I am talking to them about healing the gut when they are coming to with endocrine system issues, such as thyroid issues or adrenal fatigue or endometriosis. The endocrine system and digestive system are separate systems, right? People get diagnoses like these and start taking herbs and supplements and doing some basic dietary shifts, but generally haven’t gotten results. The reality is, if we want to get to the root of endocrine dysfunction, we need to address the gut. These are not separate things.

Our bodies are composites of these complex, interrelated systems that are actually very hard to distinguish from each other once you really start digging into it. And so when people are coming to me with something like adrenal fatigue, I’m absolutely going to address the gut first, because we need to look at the internal ecosystem. There’s a few reasons for this.

One is blood sugar. Blood sugar is very connected to the endocrine system. Ultimately, we need to look at why someone’s blood sugar is dysregulated. And most of the time, that is due to excess intake of carbohydrates, especially processed carbohydrates. People may have a hard time controlling themselves around refined carbohydrates because there’s underlying microbiome imbalance when people are having insatiable cravings for foods that are giving no nutritional value to their body. This is often what causes the blood sugar dysregulation in the first place, addiction to carbohydrates through microbiome imbalance. Then, in order to properly produce all of our other hormones, such as progesterone, and thyroid hormone, we need to be in a state where our blood sugar is balanced. We cannot be having big spikes and dips in our blood sugar and expect to be properly producing our hormones.

Balancing the blood sugar is a huge part of healing the endocrine system. And healing the microbiome is a big part of sustainably rebalancing blood sugar, because if you just put people on a blood sugar balancing diet without actually addressing the microbiome, people will not do well and it won’t be sustainable, because they’ll have these cravings that they just can’t get rid of. So they’ll get off track and they’ll binge and stay stuck in this cycle. So blood sugar is deeply related to hormonal health, and this is a microbiome issue for the most part.

The other issue is that gut dysbiosis itself creates a kind of mimicry of estrogen dominance. There are a lot of bacteria that when they overgrow, the toxins they produce mimic estrogen. And so this is especially relevant for people who their hormones are looking normal on paper when they do a lab test, but they’re having all the symptoms of estrogen dominance. The body is not making too much estrogen or not making enough progesterone, but they have this overgrowth of bacteria that is producing toxins that is mimicking estrogen in the body.

Additionally, when we have leaky gut, which comes hand in hand with microbiome imbalance, because we have these overgrowth of microbes that are growing into the gut wall or inflaming the gut wall. This is a major cause of autoimmune conditions that tend to attack and different endocrine glands. So autoimmune conditions that tend to attack the thyroid or the adrenals, or the ovaries. Toxins and proteins from food are getting into places in the body where they shouldn’t get, and they’re often docking into receptors in these endocrine glands. Then the endocrine glands are not then producing those hormones correctly. Now, the body is then seeing that there are toxins clogging up their endocrine glands, and the immune system tries to pull them out and in the process, it also is attacking the cells of those endocrine glands as kind of a part of its immune process. And then we call this autoimmunity! Hashimotos, and other autoimmune diseases that are connected to endocrine glands. Ultimately, the key is actually in the microbiome, not in the organ itself.

So you can see, we don’t directly address the adrenals. We don’t directly address the thyroid, we don’t directly address hormones. Of course you can use certain herbs and supplements and lifestyle practices to help support those organs in particular, but usually those practices are not enough on their own. They must be used in tandem with a nutritional and lifestyle protocol that is going to rebalance the microbiome. You can see how I’ve laid out why it’s completely connected and getting your body into a balanced, thriving ecosystem is the root of healing.

About the Author
Jen Donovan completely rebuilt her life and career as a result of her experience with severe chronic illness. After finding no answers from conventional medical approaches, she took matters into her own hands and with the help of key mentors, found a path to healing.
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