Having a healthy gut microbiome can help with mood swings and hot flushes
The microbiome is a hot topic right now in menopause research: so what is it and why is it so important?
The microbiome is a term that defines the genetic material of all the micro-organisms that live on and in us. These micro-organisms have an important role in our life – in fact, they live in symbiosis with us, meaning that both we (the hosts) and they have a mutually beneficial relationship.
The trillions of organisms in our gut (the microbiota) include bacteria, fungi and viruses. The gut microbiota helps with the metabolism of certain substances that we can’t digest, protects us from pathogens that can enter the gut, offers a protective layer between our cells and the gut lumen (the inner part of the gastrointestinal tract) and also improves our immunity.
Recent discoveries in gut health
Scientists started focusing their research into the role of gut microbiota in 2004. Since then, we have discovered the importance of gut bacteria – it has even been nicknamed the “hidden organ”. So what else do we now know?
The gut-brain axis
This is the link that connects the central nervous system with the enteric nervous system (which governs the function of the gastrointestinal tract). The microbiome plays an important role in this link because it is involved in the production of serotonin, also known as the hormone of happiness. In the gut, serotonin is involved in pain perception; in the brain, it is involved in mood regulation.
The estroblome is the part of the microbiome that is involved in the metabolism of oestrogen. In perimenopause, fluctuation in oestrogen levels is the reason for mood swings and hot flushes. Having a healthy gut microbiome can help perimenopausal women to reduce these symptoms.
The microbiome is a dynamic community that changes depending on factors such as diet, lifestyle, physical activity and taking antibiotics. It is important to maintain a microbiome that’s well balanced and diverse, and testing your gut health can help with this. Identifying imbalances in the gut microbiome before they become long-term is crucial – otherwise, illnesses and inflammation can arise, leading to chronic diseases such as IBS.
There are lots of suggestions about how to rebalance your microbiome. These include eating more fermented foods, reducing carbs, opting for wholefoods and taking supplements. But the reality is that each of us is made differently, which means there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. By examining the composition of your microbiome, you can learn how to eat functionally to help rebalance the bacteria species you are lacking, and understand which supplements you should be taking.
1 What is the gut microbiome?
It’s the community of bacterial species that live inside our gut. Each bacteria plays an important role that impacts our health and holistic wellbeing.
2 Why is gut health so important?
It helps with the metabolism of certain substances that we can’t digest, protects us from pathogens that can enter the gut, offers a protective layer between our cells and the gut lumen, and gives us better immunity.
3 What are the recent discoveries in gut health?
First, the gut-brain axis: the link that connects the central nervous system with the enteric nervous system. Second, the estroblome. Fluctuation in oestrogen levels is the reason for mood swings and hot flushes. Having a healthy gut microbiome can help perimenopausal and menopausal women to reduce these symptoms.
4 Why do I need to test my gut health?
Everyone is made differently – this means there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. By testing and deep-diving into the composition of your microbiome, you can understand how to eat functionally to help rebalance the bacteria species you are lacking and understand which supplements you should be taking.
The Nylos gut microbiome analysis kit is available here.