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How our gut bacteria influence estrogen levels

The healthy human body comprises of a unique, diverse habitation of microorganisms (bacteria, eukaryotes, archaea and viruses), who work in symbiosis with our body as a host and are important for our wellbeing. These microorganisms that reside in and on the human body are collectively termed ‘microbiome’. When gut health isn't optimal, hormones become imbalanced. For example, there is new research showing that the microbiome plays a big role in estrogen regulation.

What is the ESTROBOLOME?

Our gut microbes play a crucial role in the regulation of circulating estrogen levels. Our estrobolome is a collection of bacteria in the gut which is capable of metabolizing and modulating your body's circulating estrogen. The microbes in the estrobolome produce an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase, which deconjugates estrogens into their active forms. When your liver metabolizes estrogen, it tags it and sends it down to your bowels to be excreted. If you have gut dysbiosis and constipation, the tagged estrogen is sitting in your large intestine longer that usual. Bacteria producing beta-glucuronidase can act on this tagged estrogen and un-tag it, allowing it to become free and re-enter your system. This may lead to increased levels of estrogen metabolites and thus, estrogen dependent diseases such as endometriosis, fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, PCOS, breast cancer and more.

What disrupts your estrobolome?

Antibiotics and the birth control pill can both negatively affect your gut microbiome and estrobolome.

Exposure to endocrine disruptors such as bisphenols found in plastics can also disrupt the estrobolome. These disruptions can lead to an excess of estrogen in your body. Diabetes and increased blood sugar also raises the beta-glucuronidase activity. Plant based food on the other hand decreases the activity which is beneficial for your estrogen metabolism.

How to help your estrobolome?

D-glucaric acid blocks β-glucuronidase and enhances net glucuronidation which helps get rid of estrogen in the gut. D-Glucaric acid has been found in many vegetables and fruits (lettuce, bean sprouts, cruciferous vegetables, grapes, apples, oranges, apricots, tomatoes) so eating a primarily plant based, fiber rich diet is a great start. Prebiotic foods (such kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi) also help control β-glucuronidase activity. Probiotics which contain good bacteria such as lactobacilli can also rebalance your gut. Also, always make sure you have daily bowel movements to avoid retention of estrogen in the gut.

How can we help you?

In my practice, I review your dietary habits, perform specific stool tests and hormone tests and check your estrobolome. If you would like to learn more about how you can change your estrobolome to meet your health needs, don't hesitate to contact my office.


Detoxifying Cancer Causing Agents to Prevent Cancer by M Hanausek

Endometriosis and the microbiome: a systematic review by M Leonardi et al.

Estrogen–Gut Microbiome Axis: Physiological And Clinical Implications by J Baker et al.

Endometriosis is associated with an altered profile of intestinal microflora in female rhesus monkeys by MT Bailey

Microbial dysbiosis and disease pathogenesis of endometriosis, could there be a link? by J Puta

Effects of exposure to bisphenol A and ethinyl estradiol on the gut microbiota of parents and their offspring in a rodent model by A Javurek

Antibiotic Use in Relation to the Risk of Breast Cancer by C Velsier

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