The Three Most Important Factors to Consider If You Want to Balance Your Hormones: Gut Health
Heal Hormonal Conditions
There are three pillars of hormonal balance that are necessary in order to heal any hormonal condition. I could go on and talk about the right type of nutrition, supplements to boost certain hormones, lifestyle, you name it. In the end of the day, you are not what you eat. You are what you absorb and what your body does with it. It does not matter what you consume if it will go straight through. Therefore, the most important thing is to have a well-functioning gut. The second most important factor to consider is sugar consumption. Sugar amplifies any existing hormonal imbalances, whether oestrogen dominance, adrenal fatigue, or thyroid problems. Finally, you will need a well-functioning liver. This is our detoxification organ which will get rid of excess hormones and hormone metabolites.
To make it easier to digest (no pun intended) I decided to break it down into three separate blog posts. This week I will focus on the gut and what you can do to repair your gut.
Gut Health is Key
Did you know that digestive issues can cause anxiety, depression and a general sense of feeling blue? As a matter of fact; a substantial amount of neurotransmitters are made in the gut. Surprisingly, many more than in the brain. Not only can our thoughts cause stomach upset, an upset stomach can affect the way we think and feel about life. In other words, your brain can be hi-jacked by the food that you eat!
Our digestive tracts are probably also the most important component of our immune systems. In addition to acting as a defence barrier, your gut must also be able to absorb nutrients and excrete toxins and waste. This is why gut health is more important than the health of your liver. If the toxins cannot be excreted from the gut, they will be re-absorbed by your body.
Test Your Stomach Acid Levels
To be able to digest the food and extract all the nutrients it is important that you have sufficient production of stomach acid. If you often see undigested food in your stools you are most certainly not having enough stomach acid, if in doubt, there is a simple, quick, and cheap way of testing this at home with baking soda.
First thing in the morning (preferably three consecutive days in a row):
- Dissolve ¼ teaspoon of baking soda in 150 ml of water (room temperature)
- Drink the solution.
- Start a timer and observe any belching that occurs within 3 minutes.
Belching within 3 minutes indicates sufficient amounts of stomach acid, however, if early and repeated belching occurs this may be due to excessive stomach acid. Do not count any belching due to air being swallowed when drinking. This test is only an indication and cannot be used to rule out low stomach acid completely. It is not very accurate which is why it is recommended to repeat the test each morning for three days.
If you are not satisfied with the baking soda test and want to try another test you can do at home, you may want to try the Betaine HCl test.
- Buy Betaine HCl with pepsin.
- Eat a high protein meal of at least 170g of meat.
- When half way through your meal; take one dose of Betaine HCl.
- Finish your meal and observe.
Either you will observe nothing, or you will experience a burning feeling in your chest, stomach distress or hotness. The latter suggests that you already have sufficient stomach acid levels. If you experience nothings you can probably benefit from eating the Betaine HCl pill before your next meal to help with digestion.
Easy Changes for Improved Gut Function
I decided to make a small table of a few easy things you can do to improve your gut health. Always start removing the things that harm your gut and then add the things that will help it heal.
Need more help and support?
I am just about to launch a new 6-week online group coaching program. This program will be focused on these three pillars to increase energy and hormonal balance. The program is scheduled to start on the 5th of June and run for 6 weeks with weekly group meetings online. I will include weekly meal plans with recipes, shopping lists, a guide to fool proof your bedroom, guide to eating out, and ongoing support through a private Facebook group. More information about this program will be available next week!
If you are unsure whether a group setting is the right environment for you, do not hesitate to contact me. We are all different and prefer different types of support; some people may prefer private customised one to one coaching or a combination of the two. Do not be a stranger; I am here to help.