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  • Writer's pictureLiz Riesen, RD

Top Probiotics for Women: Enhancing Hormone Balance

Most people understand the importance of the microbiome, the healthy gut bacteria that play an important role in our health, weight, mood, and more! But what many people don't know is how the health of a woman's microbiome affects her hormone balance.

Let's dive into how bacteria affect hormone balance in women and the top probiotics women can use to support a diverse microbiome!

bowl of yogurt, mueslix, and peaches

How can probiotics improve hormone balance?

Bacteria are living organisms that are continuously communicating with our body. We actually are composed of more bacteria than we are our own cells! These little bugs are an extremely important part of every health system in our body - especially hormones!

Did you know a healthy gut microbiome should have around 500 different species of bacteria?

With all these bacteria, you can understand why issues with gut health can lead to significant, chronic symptoms. When bacteria are out of balance, which we call dysbiosis, you can experience symptoms of:

  • weight gain

  • bloating

  • fatigue

  • headaches

  • mood swings

  • depression

  • insomnia

  • skin issues

  • hormone imbalance

The good news is that there is a lot we can do through nutrition and lifestyle, to promote a diverse microbiome.

Bacteria Impact Estrogen Balance

There's a specific part of the microbiome that we call the 'estrobolome' which is a fun play on words estrogen + microbiome. The estrobolome is a collection of bacteria in the microbiome who's primary role is to metabolize estrogens (1). This group of bacteria regulates the excretion and recirculation of estrogen back into the body. We can measure this reaction in the microbiome by measuring beta-glucuronidase enzyme through stool testing.

Interested in stool testing for gut health? I recommend the GI Map Test which has an easy-to-collect at home process. You can learn more and order here.

Since women have many more estrogen receptors in their body than men; the balance of bacteria in the microbiome has a bigger effect on women's health.

Gut Health Testing

GI Map Stool Test Sample Report

The best way to measure gut health and bacteria composition of the microbiome is through a microbial assay of the stool. This means a microscopic measurement of stool that can pick up levels of beneficial and harmful bacteria. It's also important when measuring gut health to identify any other infections from viruses, pathogens, parasites, and worms.

In my practice, I utilize the GI Map Microbial Assay when I need to look deeper into a client's gut health. The GI Map also measures gut health markers looking at inflammation, digestive capability, and enzymatic function.

One enzyme in particular that relates directly to estrogen levels is called beta-glucuronidase. This enzyme is produced by bacteria in the microbiome. If this enzyme is elevated it means that estrogen levels are being de-conjugated (reactivated) and circulating back into the bloodstream (2). This leads to estrogen dominance and hormone imbalance.

A healthy gut microbiome has an estrobolome that produces the right amount of beta-glucuronidase to maintain estrogen balance in the body. Making sure to support the microbiome with probiotic rich foods and if needed, a supplement, will help keep the gut microbiome healthy.

Top Probiotics for Women and Hormones

bowl of white supplement capsules

When choosing a probiotic supplement, you want to choose a reputable company and brand that is third-party tested. This means they send their supplements to an independent lab to test for quality, purity, and correct ingredient doses. A probiotic supplement should provide at least 5 billion CFUs (colony forming units).

Bacterial strains that are being studied in their relationship to the estrobolome include: Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Saccharomyces boulardii. Although it is more important to think of your microbiome as a whole and focus on increasing diversity.

  1. Therbiotic Synbiotic Probiotic - this is a blend of 7 beneficial strains of bacteria including keystone species like Lactobacillus reuteri. Each capsule provides 50 billion CFU which is a high potency and effective dose for restoring a healthy microbiome.

  2. Ultraflora Spectrum Probiotic - this is a blend of 7 beneficial bacteria strains including a yeast-based strain Saccharomyces boulardii that can help prevent a common yeast overgrowth in the microbiome called Candida Albicans. Each capsule provides 30 billion CFU.

  3. Florajen Womens Vaginal Probiotic - beneficial bacterial strains studied for their use in preventing UTIs and balancing bacterial and digestive balance of bacteria. Also includes cranberry extract for helping balance vaginal pH.

  4. Lifeway Kefir - kefir is a probiotic yogurt drink that is typically higher potency than yogurt. Lifeway brand contains twelve different strains of beneficial bacteria which is why I like to recommend this brand.

  5. Chobani Yogurt - I like to recommend this brand because every product serving provides 20 billion CFUs and they use six beneficial strains of bacteria in their yogurts.

But I can't leave you with probiotic recommendations without reminding you of the importance of a healthy, fiber filled diet!

bowl of artichokes

Prebiotic Fiber-Rich Foods

We can't talk probiotics without mentioning the importance of prebiotic rich foods. Prebiotics are what feed the probiotics and allow them to flourish. When you hear prebiotic, think fiber. The recommended intake for fiber in the U.S. is 25 grams per day, but I always encourage my clients to aim for at least 30 grams of fiber daily. Fiber should come from whole food, plant sources. Below are some of my favorite high-fiber foods.

Keep in mind when you are increasing fiber in your diet it is extremely important to drink an adequate amount of water. The general rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight (lbs) in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds you will want to drink 80 ounces of water per day. Water and fiber are also key in the diet for regular, daily bowel movements.

High Fiber Foods:

  • 2 Tbsp. Chia Seeds = 10 g fiber

  • 2 Tbsp. Flaxseed = 6 g fiber

  • 1 cup Raspberries = 8 g fiber

  • 1 Artichoke = 9 g fiber

  • 1/2 Avocado = 5 g fiber

  • 1 cup Broccoli = 5 g fiber

  • 1 medium Pear = 5 g fiber

  • 1/4 cup Almonds = 4 g fiber

  • 1/2 cup Lentils = 8 g fiber

  • 1/2 cup Black Beans = 7 g fiber

  • 2 cups Leafy Greens = 3 g fiber

  • 3 cups Popcorn = 4 g fiber

If you're looking for additional guidance and support, let me know. Now is the time to invest in yourself and your body. You deserve to feel happy, energized, and comfortable in your body! Apply to work with me here

For tips, live videos, and to keep learning about nutrition and hormones, join my free online community!

woman holding cup and smiling

Liz Riesen, RD, CD


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