Meet The Estrobolome

Monday, 3 May 2021

Meet The Estrobolome

How your Gut Microbes Influence Oestrogen Levels

We have heard and read a great deal about the many health giving benefits that gut microbes contribute to our physiology, including the absorption of nutrients from food, supporting our immunity and playing a part in our mood to name a few. But, a lesser known role of some of these microbes is in regulating circulating oestrogen levels, and so has been termed The estrobolome.   

Microbes that make up the estrobolome: Escherichia coli, Bacteroides spp. and Clostridium perfringens, produce an enzyme beta-glucuronidase-that uncouples already “packaged up” oestrogens ready for elimination - from an inactive form back into an active form.

This now liberated oestrogen is capable of binding to oestrogen receptors and thereby influencing oestrogen-dependent processes.

Much like the Goldilocks story, we need just the right balance of estrobolome microbes - a healthy and diverse microbiome produces just the right amount of beta-glucuronidase to maintain oestrogen homeostasis. However, when gut dysbiosis is present, beta-glucuronidase activity may be altered. This produces either a deficiency or an excess of free oestrogen, thus promoting the development of oestrogen-related conditions.

For example: Gut dysbiosis resulting in decreased beta-glucuronidase activity may exacerbate the low-oestrogen state in postmenopausal women. As oestrogens regulate glucose and lipid metabolism and bone formation, a decreased beta-glucuronidase activity has been associated with an increased risk of obesity and osteoporosis.

Conversely, endometriosis, an oestrogen-driven condition characterized by the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, has been associated with gut dysbiosis. The estrobolome of women with endometriosis may have greater numbers of beta-glucuronidase-producing bacteria, leading to increased levels of circulating estrogen, which can drive endometriosis

What Factors Disrupt the Estrobolome?

Multiple use of antibiotics, PPI’s and the oral contraceptive pill have been found to alter the gut microbiota and therefore oestrogen levels. 

Diet is a vitally important factor. Several dietary factors may have a positive impact on the estrobolome:

  • Prebiotic foods that are rich in fructo-oligosaccharides or inulin help to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. These include chicory, asparagus, garlic, onions  and banana.

  • Plant-based foods high in dietary fibre (think nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, and any variety of vegetables) 

  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale are helpful in regulating beneficial gut bacteria, supplying fibre to keep the gut healthy and supporting healthy detoxification of hormones including oestrogen.

In hormonal health,

Tanya x