You have been hearing and reading a lot about how your GUT plays a huge role in your immune system and in your brain function. Well, have you also heard that your GUT also plays a big role in your hormone system – your Endocrine system?
That’s right! That’s why I call the combination of your Nervous System (brain and spinal cord), your Endocrine System (hormones), and your Immune System (your GUT for the most part) - the Neuro-Endo-Immune SUPER System.
I think it’s really cool that this information is finally making it down to the public. I have been teaching about the Neuro-Endo-Immune Super System since 2012! When I started, everyone looked at me like I was crazy!
As you know, your GUT makes up at least 70% of your Immune System. Your Brain is your Commander in Chief – and it is through your Brain that every other organ in your body knows what to do. Including your GUT!
But do you know how your Brain knows what to TELL your Body? Guess!
That’s right! Through the signals of HORMONES! (Your Endocrine System).
Just as I have said many times, your hormones are like a symphony – each organ in harmony with one another. Well it turns out that when it comes to this Super System, researchers have discovered that your GUT microbiome, is like the conductor of the full symphony!
Your GUT microbiome is a big player in telling your hormone glands when and how much of each hormone to make and release! Can you imagine?
This means your GUT signals your brain and tells it when and how much hormone to make!
Starting with your Thyroid hormones, your GUT microbiome has now been implicated as at least one cause of HYPERthyroidism AND HYPOthyroidism.
By signaling the brain to make Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, your Thyroid GLAND then responds by producing active Thyroid hormones. If your GUT microbiome is “out of whack” you can end up with too much thyroid hormone. This causes HYPERthyroidism, with anxiety, irritability, insomnia, as well as serious medical illnesses including heart arrythmias.
On the other hand, a sick GUT microbiome can also be the root cause of HYPOthyroidism - causing fatigue, weight gain, constipation, hair loss, inability to focus, and many other frustrating and dangerous symptoms. Low thyroid function also can cause anemia and heart failure.
Your Sex Hormones (like estrogen and progesterone) are also influenced by your GUT. Your GUT microbiome is responsible for metabolizing Estrogen into its active state. Your brain is picking up this information, and then signaling your Ovaries to either make more or less of your Sex hormones.
How about your Adrenal Stress hormones – Cortisol, Epinephrine and Norepinephrine?
Cortisol is critical to our health - keeping us safe from excess inflammation and potential infection. It is our most strong anti-inflammatory hormone! Epinephrine and Norepinephrine help us move through both physical and mental challenges. When our body or mind is under significant stress, these hormones help all of our organs move into their protective mode, thereby helping the body accomplish staying safe while maintaining normal bodily functions needed.
I’m sure you have heard plenty about how the Adrenal Stress hormones help us overcome dangerous threats. But did you know that when the body is under undo stress for an extended period of time, the excess production of these stress hormones can literally change your GUT microbiome by causing the existing bacteria in your GUT to develop dangerous mutations!
Finally, Melatonin, your sleep hormone, can be affected by your GUT microbiome also. It is already challenging enough to have adequate Melatonin levels as we age, as Melatonin plummets after the age of 20.
Progesterone also helps us sleep, and as we enter into our midlife years, Progesterone begins to decline causing our sleep cycle to be shortened. And sleep deprivation has been shown in research to not only cause elevated Cortisol levels, but also affect the health of our GUT microbiome.
It’s like a crazy enlarging snowball that doesn’t stop growing!
Melatonin actually comes from Serotonin. And guess where MOST of our Serotonin comes from! You guessed it right! Our GUT produces MORE Serotonin than our Brains produce!
So, I think you can see just how intricately connected our GUTS and Brain and Hormones actually are!
This is why the Neuro-Endo-Immune system is called a “Super System”. And it’s my VERY Favorite thing to talk about!
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