I attended a conference this weekend that was all about hormones. I went there hoping to leave up to date on the latest bio­identical hormone therapies but I left with much more than the latest and greatest in that realm so I had to share what I learned.

By now you’ve gathered that I love to talk about the digestive system and I truly believe that it is core to keeping you healthy in the long run. Prior to this weekend I wasn’t aware how much the hormone estriol had to do with our gut function.

Did you know that an estrogen we have in our bodies called estriol is in control of our gut lining inflammation and it’s critical for protecting against autoimmune conditions? Estriol works directly with your good gut microbes to protect the gut. In particular there’s an estrogen receptor known as “Estrogen Receptor Beta” aka ER­Beta. When ER­Beta is put to work via stimulation it’s like a key fitting into a lock that prevents gut cells from separating apart as it triggers the up regulation of gut adhesive molecules.
Oxytocin and Siberian Rhubarb are also know to boost immunity in the body by strengthening the gut lining. Both oxytocin and rhubarb do this by stimulating ER­beta.

Last but not least there’s an herb called Chanca Piedra aka “The Stone Breaker” for it’s ability to break up kidney stones. This herb has been shown from a 2015 study in the journal of Pharmaceutical Biology to be able to wipe out H. Pylori and spare Lactobacillus species probiotics. Most good bacteria are wiped out when one is treated with antibiotics for H. Pylori so this is huge! H. Pylori is the gut bug most commonly associated with ulcers and this same study found that Chanca Piedra was also effective at healing up the gut lining at the same time. So it’s an anti­microbial and gut lining healer!

Now all of this is exciting news especially since many of us are afraid of estrogens. You want to have saliva hormone testing done prior to jumping on an estriol protocol and prior to the start of any bio­identical hormones as you need to make sure you are in a safe place to provoke your body’s metabolism of estrogens.

The cells in your stomach make estrogen in addition to the ovaries, adrenals, fat, liver, breast and neural tissues. If the stomach is making estrogen like crazy it gets absorbed into the liver and if the liver is bogged down from dealing with excess toxins in the system the estrogen levels rise and you get overloaded with estrogen aka estrogen dominance.

So it is always best to test saliva levels of hormones to see where you are at and to look at liver enzymes as well. You might be thinking why saliva versus blood hormone testing, well blood shows the “bound” or busy hormones only but not the ones that are free floating around to reap havoc on the body thus saliva gives a better representation of what’s going on in real time in the body.

So before you jump on using estradiol for gut lining support go get a saliva test that looks at your hormones levels and ask your doctor to check your liver enzymes within a panel called the “comprehensive metabolic panel”. You can order saliva testing online with a company called ZRT Labs or you can contact a naturopathic doctor or functional medicine doctor in your area for testing.

I highly recommend a liver cleanse and an estrogen cleanse prior to using estriol to ensure that the ER­beta receptors are wide open waiting to be stimulated. Take a look at my previous posts that highlight my 14 day liver detox and liver foods protocols to guide you.

Chanca piedra and siberian rhubarb can be found online. The most common form of siberian rhubarb is via a product called Estrovera by Metagenics. Estrovera is known for it’s efficacy in the treatment of hot flashes but can be extremely useful for gut lining support on it’s own.

If you are already on hormone replacement therapy and suffering with digestive issues it’s worth it to see what your hormone levels look like in the saliva if they haven’t been checked. You might be surprised that you have lower levels of estradiol and estriol than you thought and estrone, the inflammatory estrogen might be elevated. If you see that estrone is up it’s really time for an estrogen and liver cleanse to get those ER­beta receptors up and running on full steam. If you are on hormone replacement therapy or bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and you are still gaining weight or have added weight in the abdomen it’s time to clear out that liver so you can use the hormones you are applying effectively.

I was so excited about this information that is new to me I’m going to start working with it on my patients this week. I have to say thank you to Dr. Devaki Lindsey Berkson for her fabulous talk at the Institute of Women’s Health this last past weekend. If you want more information on this topic, your in luck, she has a book. Go over to Amazon and grab “Safe Hormones Smart Women”. She’s an amazing doctor with many years of research on the topic of hormones so if you are struggling with perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms her book serves as a guide to give you great information on how to manage your symptoms safely and effectively.

Check out my video to learn more about my "Fix Your Digestion" course

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