Gut bugs, the gut bacteria populating your intestines have the science community bustling. There is so much emerging research about them – but so much more we don’t know. From probiotics, to prebiotics to bacteria strains, to their functions, to the health implications of different strains and the quantity of various strains – and more, we still have a lot to learn.
However, these little microbes are being shown to play a huge role in our health, including reproductive health. A review in 2017 by Baker et al in Maturitas Scientific Journal of Midlife and Beyond suggested a few ideas linking the gut microbiome to fertility, PCOS, endometriosis, metabolic disease and other health conditions. They discuss the estrobolome, a group of bacteria forming β-glucuronidase, an enzyme working to activate the hormone oestrogen. They suggest an abundance, or lack of, estrobloom bacteria in the gut may play a role in oestrogen action which can be linked to infertility, PCOS, endometriosis, metabolic disease and so forth. The authors indicate this is an emerging field, with further research needed, but here is the paper if you’re keen to read more.
While this research is still in its infancy, a healthy gut microbiome is shown to be beneficial for overall health, so here are my tips for building a healthy microbiome:
- Eat at least 25-30g of fibre every day. Gut bacteria feed on fibre, they need it to thrive. Just be sure to see your health care professional or dietitian before radically increasing fibre intake as eating too much, too quickly, can cause some gut discomfort.
- Variety is the key, evidence is showing the more diverse the microbiome, the better. Aiming for 30 different fruits, vegetables, legumes, herbs and spices each week is a great start. Sprinkle nuts and seeds over your breakfast cereal and salads, add legumes to sauces, buy seasonal produce and mix-up the spices and herbs in your cooking.
- Include probiotic rich foods in your diet: think greek yogurt, keifer, sauerkraut, kimchi etc.
- Find movement you love to help keep stress at bay.
Remember to speak to your health care professional for tailored advice as this is only general in nature. Keen to know more? Send me a message here, or DM me on Instagram.