The hormone balance in the body is important for several reasons. An imbalance can affect both sleep and appetite. The good news, however, is that you can influence your hormones by adjusting your lifestyle – for example, by taking care of your gut.
Regardless of gender and age we are all full of hormones that control both our moods and our desire to sleep and eat. For example, cortisol wakes you up, leptin controls appetite and melatonin makes you tired when evening approaches. Your hormones, simply put, act as messengers carrying big and important messages throughout the body, and hormone imbalances can therefore have major consequences.
Our hormones are regulated by the endocrine system, which consists of various glands, organs and tissues. But the gut flora also affects our hormone levels. Our benign intestinal bacteria direct the body’s other hormones and help maintain balance in the body.
A healthy gut flora can, for example, help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body and can make you calmer. Benign and healthy bacteria have also been shown to be good for digestion, which in turn affects estrogen levels as well as the body’s insulin production.
The body’s fat cells produce the hormone leptin which makes you feel satiated, and a healthy gut flora has been shown to make the body more sensitive to leptin. Practically speaking, sufficient levels of leptin can make the brain more quickly aware that you are full and can thus influence you to stop eating on time.
The sleep hormone melatonin is also affected by the state of your gut flora, as is the happiness hormone oxytocin. A study has also shown that a healthy gut flora results in increased levels of vitamin D in the system – a hormone that, among other things, affects the body’s ability to absorb calcium and to regulate blood glucose levels.
In addition to the gut flora being involved in the production and regulation of a number of different hormones, there is also a specific group of intestinal bacteria that help keep the female sex hormone estrogen at a stable level. This set of intestinal bacteria, or rather bacterial genes, is known as the estrobolome and produces an enzyme that metabolises estrogen.
Since the gut flora is involved in hormone regulation, it is important to maintain a strong and balanced gut flora. The kind bacteria in the gut that promotes health likes fibre, so make sure you eat vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts and other such plant foods that these bacteria thrive on and that helps them increase in number. The bacteria also love acidic vegetables. Another alternative is to introduce a dietary supplement for the gut flora such as Synbiotic15 which contains benign bacteria and fibre.
Sometimes you need to take antibiotics to treat various diseases, but you should only take antibiotics if it’s absolutely necessary. Antibiotics are great for killing dangerous bacteria, but it also kills the good bacteria that you want more of. When it comes to diet, you should also avoid refined sugar, ultra-processed foods and unnecessary additives.