Traditional modern medicine compartmentalizes and, in turn, we compartmentalize our bodies a little too much. If the gut’s got troubles we go to a GI specialist. If we have a hormone imbalance we visit an endocrinologist.
This tendency seems like the natural response to the complexity of the human body and to the mystique of an ever-siloing medical industry.
But what we’re “re-discovering” (or re-applying) is the truth that we are intricately woven interconnected beings whose systems are all dependent upon each other.
So to say there’s a connection between our gut and our hormones is similar to saying my hand is connected to my arm.
“The gut is probably the biggest endocrine gland we have in the body if you want to call it that,” Dr. RitamarieLoscalzo said. “It’s the biggest secretor of hormones, and hormones control it.
“Most people don’t realize the effect hormones have on the gut and the effect the gut has on hormones. If you don’t address the gut for hormone imbalances all you’re doing is symptomatic band-aid control.”
Why Sex Hormones Are So Important to Gut Health
Sex hormones, testosterone, in particular, is not just important for sex and muscle development. In fact, as men begin to experience andropause (the man’s equivalent of menopause), a dip in testosterone doesn’t just mean a dip in energy and sex drive. It also means a weakening of the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
And don’t think you’re off the hook just because you’re younger than 65. Men even in their early 20s are experiencing low testosterone because of environmental toxins and food but also stress.
The Gut-Hormone Connection Is Good News
Because testosterone and all other hormones are so closely linked to gut health, addressing a hormone imbalance should start with gut health instead of medication. By healing the gut and cleaning the body of toxins, our body will produce, release and absorb hormones more effectively and efficiently.
In other words, we do have more control over our hormones than we thought, but we have to address the problems at their root.