What is The Estrobolome and how does it impact your hormones?

Close up of a stomach with two hands on their hips

The Estrobolome is a little known but very important part of your gut microbiome. From the day you are born, your body becomes colonized by microbes, mostly bacteria but also viruses, fungi and protozoa. Over 90% of those microbes live in the gut, which is home to more than 500 different species of bacteria. 

This complex ecosystem of microbes is responsible for a huge number of different processes in the body from helping you digest your food to influencing what hormones are circulating in your blood. The Estrobolome is an important part of this world of microbes and it can have a profound impact on your health.

Read on to find out more about the Estrobolome - including what it does and why it’s important.

What is The Estrobolome?

The Estrobolome is a group of specific bacteria in the gut microbiome that are capable of metabolizing estrogens. 

Estrogens are produced in the ovaries, the adrenal glands and adipose tissue - aka body fat - in the body. They circulate in the blood and have a diverse range of different effects. Estrogens are metabolized by the liver and are eliminated from the body as urine or as bile in your poop.

However, the bacteria belonging to the Estrobolome can also metabolise estrogens from bile and this estrogen then gets reabsorbed back into the bloodstream.

Why does The Estrobolome matter?

Estrogen is essential for a range of processes in the body but too much or too little estrogen in the blood can be a problem.

When estrogen is metabolized by the Estrobolome and reabsorbed into the blood, it circulates the body and can have an impact on certain tissues like breast tissue and the endometrium aka the lining of the uterus.

Some conditions influenced by changes in circulating estrogens include:

  • Cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Fertility
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity
  • Cognitive health
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

As a result, the health of the Estrobolome can have an impact on your reproductive health, your risk of developing cancer and much more.

What influences The Estrobolome?

Like all microbes in the human microbiome, The Estrobolome is shaped by certain lifestyle factors, including:

  • Diet
  • Alcohol intake
  • Genetics
  • Environment
  • Antibiotics and other medication

The good news is, there are some things you can do to help your Estrobolome to function correctly and carry on doing its job well. 

Researchers found that adult women eating a high fibre vegetarian diet with moderate fat intake had higher levels of estrogen in their poop compared to women eating a typical ‘Western diet’ that was high in fat and low in fibre. This suggests that a diet that’s higher in fibre and lower in fat can contribute to a healthier Estrobolome.

Looking after your Estrobolome

Researchers are still working to understand how different lifestyle factors and genetics influence the Estrobolome. What is currently clear is that following a healthy lifestyle is hugely important for your reproductive health and your overall well-being. A high fibre diet that’s rich in whole foods and includes fermented foods may also be beneficial for improving the diversity of your gut microbiome and your Estrobolome.

Want to learn more about how your hormones affect you? Read this next.

**At Free Soul, your wellbeing is our priority, and although we pride ourselves on our expertise in women's health and wellbeing, it is important to acknowledge the individuality of each person. Features published by Free Soul are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease, or replace the advice of your GP. We always recommend consulting with a healthcare provider if you encounter any health concerns, and we’ll always be here to support you so you’re never alone on your journey.