The Gut-Hormone Connection in Women

The Gut-Hormone Connection in Women

Statistics show that approximately 80% of women suffer from hormonal imbalances but the gut-hormone connection is little known.

The human body is a complex and interconnected system, where different organs and functions influence each other in ways we are only beginning to understand.  One fascinating area of study is the relationship between women’s hormones and the gut.  Research has shown that the health of the gut can have a significant impact on hormone levels and vice versa.

The Gut Microbiome and hormone balance

The gut microbiome, which consists of trillions of microorganisms living in the digestive tract, plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health.  These microorganisms help with digestion, nutrient absorption and immune function.  But their influence extends beyond the digestive system.

Recent studies have shown that the gut microbiome can also impact hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone.  For example, certain bacteria in the gut can metabolize oestrogen, affecting its levels in the body.  Disruptions in the gut microbiome, such as those caused by antibiotics, poor diet, or stress, can lead to imbalances in hormone levels.

Some of the signs of hormone imbalance

  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia and poor quality sleep
  • Heavy and painful periods
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Skin problems
  • Headaches

Dysbiosis and the gut-hormone connection

There are many factors that can cause an imbalance in gut bacteria, ranging from environmental toxins to stress and medication intake (antibiotics for example).  These can irritate the lining of the gut, causing inflammation, nutrient deficiencies and a range of health problems, including hormone imbalances.

One of the hormones that is particularly affected by gut health is oestrogen.  Oestrogen in the body is processed by a collection of bacteria in the gut, which is called ‘estrobolome’.  Estrobolome includes the enzymes which are responsible for breaking down hormones and healthy bacteria in the gut which go on to feed the rest of our body.  Estrobolome also controls how your body breaks down and eliminates excess oestrogen once its function is over.  This process is commonly referred to as the ‘oestrogen metabolism’.  As a result, an imbalance in healthy gut bacteria can contribute to a deficiency or excess of oestrogen, which can lead to imbalances in other hormones.

Leaky Gut and the gut-hormone connection

Another way the gut can impact hormone balance is through a condition known as leaky gut syndrome or intestinal permeability.  In this condition, the lining of the intestines becomes more permeable, allowing harmful substances like bacteria, toxins and undigested food particles to leak into the bloodstream.  This can trigger an immune response and inflammation, which can disrupt hormone production and balance.

Leaky gut syndrome has been linked to conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis and autoimmune thyroid disorders, all of which involve hormonal imbalances.  By addressing gut health and reducing intestinal permeability, it may be possible to improve hormone balance and alleviate symptoms of these conditions.

Stress, cortisol and the gut-hormone connection

Stress is another factor that can influence both hormone levels and gut health.  When we are stressed, the body releases cortisol, a hormone that can affect digestion and the gut microbiome.  Chronic stress can lead to imbalances in cortisol levels, which in turn can impact the gut, leading to issues like inflammation and altered gut motility.

In addition, cortisol can also affect the balance of other hormones, such as oestrogen and progesterone, further complicating the relationship between stress, gut health and hormone balance.  Managing stress supports both gut health and hormone balance in women.

Supporting Gut Health for Hormone Balance

Maintaining a healthy gut is essential for supporting hormone balance in women.  What can you do to improve the health of your gut?  You can start by removing the following:

  • Common reactive foods – usually dairy, eggs, gluten. If you’re unsure which foods/drinks you’re reacting to, do the Biocompatability Food Test.
  • Refined carbohydrates and sugar.
  • Artificial sweeteners.
  • Unhealthy fats.
  • Additives and preservatives.
  • Environmental toxins.
  • Excess caffeine/alcohol.
  • Unnecessary medications.

In conclusion, the gut plays a crucial role in maintaining hormone balance in women.  By supporting gut health through diet, stress management and other lifestyle changes, women can help promote overall hormonal balance and improve their health and well-being.

If you need help with your hormones and  improving the health of your gut, book a FREE health assessment Zoom call here.

If you’d like to find out more about the Biocompatability Food test and the GI Map stool test which are included in the Mind Your Gut Program, we can discuss these in the health assessment call.  







The Incredible Gut-Brain Connection

The Incredible Gut-Brain Connection

The gut-brain connection and mental health such as low mood, ADHD, anxiety and other neurological and psychiatric disorders are closely related.

Even autism spectrum disorders (ASD), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain are also closely related.

Your gut is your second brain via the gut-brain axis.  It is a bidirectional link between the central nervous system (CNS) and the enteric nervous system (ENS) of the body. This occurs primarily through neuroimmune and neuroendocrine mechanisms, often involving the vagus nerve.  This communication is dictated by what’s going on in your gut.  For example, short-chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) are part of this communication process and they are the main source of energy for the cells lining your colon.  You can find SCFA’s in fibre rich foods such as fruit, vegetables and legumes and in foods containing resistant starch such as cooked potatoes and rice.

The Gut-Brain Axis: Two-way Communication

Don’t forget that the gut-brain axis is a two-way communication highway.  If you have anxiety and/depression or chronic stress, this is going to have an impact on your gut (signals from your brain to your gut) and the health of your gut is going to have an impact on your brain (signals from your gut to your brain).  So how do you know if you have an imbalanced gut microbiome and poor gut health?

  • Feeling irritable and moody.
  • Interrupted sleep.
  • Allergies, intolerances and/or food sensitivities.
  • Difficulty in losing weight.
  • Depression and/or anxiety.
  • Behavioural issues.
  • Low energy and fatigued.
  • A ‘foggy’ brain.
  • Hormones out of whack.
  • Constipation, acid reflux, diarrhoea, bloating.
  • Skin conditions.

The Gut-Brain Connection and Stress

Given how closely the gut-brain interact, it becomes easier to understand why you might feel nauseated before giving a presentation or feel intestinal pain during times of stress.  Chronic stress can affect movement and contractions of the gut, making inflammation worse, or perhaps make you more susceptible to infection.

Stress downregulates your stomach acid and enzyme production making it harder to break down and digest your food.  This leaves you susceptible to bacterial overgrowths in the gut, resulting in imbalances in neurotransmitter production.  This means low mood, hyperactivity and various psychological disorders.

To reduce stress, treat yourself and have a massage.  If this isn’t your thing, go for a walk, try a yoga class, chat with a friend.  It doesn’t have to be complicated.  Do anything that you enjoy and it’s away from work and home.  

Improving the Gut-Brain Connection: First Steps

These are the two tests I use in clinic first and foremost.  They give us the information we need to make a good start towards improving gut issues and mental health issues such as low mood, ADHD and anxiety. 

GI Map Testing – Your gut is your second brain so we need to see exactly what’s going on in there!  We need to see what kind of bacterial overgrowth is there, if there are any parasites or worms, any fungi or yeasts.  We also need to see how your gut is functioning.  If it’s under-functioning and there’s bacterial overgrowth (most people experience this), your gut will be struggling to produce those neurotransmitters you need for good mental health.  You also won’t be able to absorb the nutrients you need from your food.

Food sensitivities – the culprits are usually dairy, eggs, gluten and corn.  If you’re not sure and don’t want to follow an Elimination Diet, click here for more information about the Food Biocompatability Test which tests for foods, personal care and household products that you are sensitive to.  When you continue to eat, drink and be exposed to certain household and personal care products, you’re creating more inflammation, an important factor in mental health.

If you need help with improving the health of your gut-brain axis, book a free 20 min Zoom health assessment call here.

In this call, you tell me what your main health issues are and I tell you how I address these issues.  If we’re not a right fit, that’s fine.  Every natural health practitioner has different ways of working and the way I treat people may or may not suit each person.

Deflate the Bloat – Uncover the Secrets to a Flatter Stomach

Deflate the Bloat – Uncover the Secrets to a Flatter Stomach

In our hectic lives, the discomfort of bloating can feel like an unwelcome visitor.  That annoying feeling of tightness, gas, and general discomfort not only affects our physical well-being but can also dampen our spirits.  At some stage, my bloating was so bad that I looked pregnant and I had to wear stretchy leggings.  I was so self conscious that it stopped me from going out.  But here’s the good news – it doesn’t last forever, you can do something about it.  

Why do we bloat?

Bloating is like that friend who shows up unannounced and overstays their welcome.  Common causes of bloating are:

  • Constipation
  • Food intolerances
  • Gut bacteria imbalance
  • Lack of digestive enzymes/Hcl
  • Stress
  • Eating too quickly
  • Drinking too quickly with your meal
  • Fermentable carbohydrates (foods high in starch or sugar)

The Power of Diet

One of the most potent tools in your arsenal against bloating is your diet.  Yes, you read that right; the foods you choose to put on your plate play a pivotal role in preventing and managing bloating.  Let’s dive into the benefits:

  1. Taming the Culprits: Some foods are notorious for causing bloating. Think carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners and ‘FODMAP’ fruits and vegetables such as apples, cherries, brussels sprouts, garlic, leeks, mushrooms and onions.  By identifying and reducing your intake of these culprits, you can significantly cut down on bloating episodes.
  2. Fibre: The Digestive Hero: A diet rich in fibre, especially soluble fibre found in oats and legumes, can work wonders for your digestive system. Fiber keeps things moving smoothly, preventing constipation and the resulting bloating.
  3. Anti-Inflammatory Foods: Foods such as ginger and turmeric can help soothe an irritated digestive tract. Including them in your diet may reduce the frequency and severity of bloating.
  4. The Magic of Probiotics: Probiotics are your gut’s best friends. Incorporating yogurt (with the good bacteria), kefir, sauerkraut and other probiotic-rich foods into your diet can promote a healthier gut microbiome, potentially reducing bloating.
  5. Add either ½ a lemon or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in warm filtered water and drink 15 mins before eating.

Meal Planning for Bloating Relief

Now that we’ve uncovered the benefits of diet and nutrition, here are a few meal suggestions to help with the bloat.

Breakfast: Kickstart your day with a bowl of rolled oats topped with blueberries and a sprinkle of chia seeds. Oats are a fantastic source of soluble fibre, while blueberries offer a dose of antioxidants.  I soak my oats and seeds the night before so that they’re more digestible the next day.

Lunch: Opt for a vibrant salad with leafy greens, cucumbers and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  Leafy greens are gentle on the stomach and olive oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can be soothing.

Dinner: Enjoy a portion of grilled or baked salmon with steamed asparagus and quinoa.  Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, known for their anti-inflammatory effects.


If you’ve tried the above and you’re bloating is not improving, it’s time to test (if you haven’t already).  These days, I don’t guess, I test.  The MetaXplore GI stool test gives a comprehensive report as to the ‘why’s of your gut issues, including bloating.  You could have bacterial pathogens, you could have parasites, you could have pancreatic insufficiency (low enzymes), you could be sensitive to gluten and much more.

The Bio-Compatability Food test tells you which foods you’re sensitive to.  I have found this to be very successful for various challenging gut issues.

Both these tests can be found in the ‘Healthy Gut Healthy You’ program.  Click here for more information or

Book a free 20 min health assessment Zoom call and we can have a chat about your health issues.

Best of luck with deflating the bloat!

Exposing Heavy Metal Toxicity and Its Impact on the Body and Mind

Exposing Heavy Metal Toxicity and Its Impact on the Body and Mind

Heavy metal toxicity – it’s hardly spoken about but it’s one of the most important areas to focus on when improving our health.  In our modern world, we encounter heavy metals more frequently than we might realize and their accumulation in the body can wreak havoc on our physical and mental health.

Heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and aluminium, are naturally occurring elements present in the environment.  While some levels of these metals are found naturally in soil, water and even our bodies, human activities have significantly increased exposure levels – industrial processes, pollution, contaminated water sources and even certain consumer products contribute to the accumulation of heavy metals in our system.

Exposure risks

  • In pregnancy
  • Pharmaceutical toxins
  • Processed foods
  • Fortified foods
  • Foods such as large fish, rice, dark chocolate (some brands)
  • Pesticides, herbicides in food
  • Occupational, eg mining, paper manufacturing
  • Homes – cleaning agents, furnishings, clothing etc
  • Copper pipes
  • Air pollution and many more

Physical Effects of Heavy Metal Toxicity

Heavy metal toxicity is like a silent invader that slowly infiltrates our bodies, leading to a range of physical health issues.  Let’s explore some of the most common effects:

Organ Damage: Heavy metals tend to accumulate in vital organs like the liver, kidneys and brain, causing oxidative stress and disrupting their proper functioning. This can lead to various diseases, including liver and kidney damage.

Nervous System Disorders: Heavy metals, particularly lead and mercury, have a profound impact on the nervous system.  They can disrupt neuronal communication, leading to symptoms like memory loss, cognitive impairment, nerve damage, hyperactivity and even neurological disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. 

Immune System Dysfunction: Heavy metals can impair the immune system’s ability to defend the body against pathogens, making individuals more susceptible to infections, allergies, and autoimmune disorders.

Cardiovascular Complications: The accumulation of heavy metals in the cardiovascular system can interfere with blood vessel function, increase the risk of hypertension, and contribute to heart diseases.

Respiratory Issues: Inhalation of heavy metals, like lead and cadmium, can cause lung damage and respiratory problems, such as chronic bronchitis and asthma.

Impact of Heavy Metal Toxicity on the Brain

Just as heavy metals silently sabotage our physical health, their effects on our mental well-being are equally dangerous.  Here are some ways heavy metal toxicity can influence our brain and cognition:

Cognitive Decline: Heavy metals can impair cognitive function, including memory, attention, and information processing.  Prolonged exposure may contribute to the development of conditions like dementia and cognitive decline.

Emotional Disturbances: Heavy metals can disrupt the delicate balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to mood swings, depression, anxiety, and even personality changes.

Developmental Issues: Children and unborn babies are particularly vulnerable to heavy metal toxicity.  Exposure during critical developmental stages can lead to learning disabilities, developmental delays, and behavioural problems.

Disrupted Sleep Patterns: Heavy metals can interfere with the production of sleep-regulating hormones like melatonin, resulting in sleep disturbances and insomnia.

Prevention and Detoxification

Although heavy metal toxicity might sound daunting, there are steps we can take to protect ourselves and minimize its impact:

Awareness and Avoidance: Stay informed about potential sources of heavy metal exposure, such as contaminated water, certain foods (e.g., fish with high mercury content) and occupational hazards. Take necessary precautions to minimize exposure.

Healthy Lifestyle: Maintain a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients, antioxidants and fibre. Regular exercise, stress management and adequate sleep help support the body’s natural detoxification processes.

Detoxification Support: Consult a healthcare professional for guidance on safe and effective methods of heavy metal detoxification.  Chelation therapy, dietary changes and supplementation with specific nutrients like zinc, selenium and vitamin C can aid in the removal of heavy metals from the body.

Do you have heavy metals lurking in your body?  Find out with the Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA).  Ask me how.  You can either email me at or book a free 20 min health assessment call here or to find out more about the HTMA test, click here

Nutrient Deficiencies & ADHD

Nutrient Deficiencies & ADHD

If you’re reading this, chances are you or someone you know has been struggling with adult ADHD.  It can be tough, right?  The constant distraction, the forgetfulness, the difficulty in staying focused – it can really impact your day-to-day life.  But did you know that nutrient deficiencies play a role in your ADHD symptoms?

Before we dive into the details, let’s first take a step back and understand what ADHD is.  Contrary to popular belief, ADHD is not just a problem for kids.  In fact, it affects millions of adults worldwide.  ADHD is a neurological condition that affects the brain’s ability to focus, prioritize and control impulses. 

Now, you might be wondering what nutrient deficiencies have to do with all of this.  Well, it turns out that the brain needs a wide variety of nutrients to function properly.  Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, zinc, iron, and vitamin D are all essential for optimal brain health.  Unfortunately, many people with ADHD are deficient in these nutrients.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these key nutrients and how they might impact ADHD symptoms:

Omega-3 fatty acids

Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish like salmon and walnuts, can help reduce ADHD symptoms like hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention.  Omega-3s are important for brain development and function, and many people with ADHD have been found to be deficient in this nutrient.


Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including those involved in brain function.  Studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can improve ADHD symptoms like hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention.


Zinc is another essential mineral that is important for brain health.  Studies have shown that zinc supplementation can improve ADHD symptoms.  Many people with ADHD have been found to be deficient in this nutrient.


Iron is important for the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in ADHD.   However, it’s important to get tested for iron before taking a supplement.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for brain health and has been linked to ADHD.  Studies have shown that people with ADHD are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D than those without ADHD. 

Now, it’s important to note that not everyone with ADHD will be deficient in these nutrients.  However, if you are struggling with ADHD symptoms, it might be worth considering getting your nutrient levels checked.  You can get your blood levels checked but this is not a true representation of long term nutrient deficiencies.  The Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) test reveals exactly what’s going on including metabolism, blood sugar, adrenals as well as finding out exactly which nutrients are imbalanced.  It also reveals any heavy metal toxicity which can play a key role in ADHD symptoms.  Blood tests don’t show heavy metal toxicity. 

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to managing ADHD, addressing nutrient deficiencies and making lifestyle changes can go a long way in helping you manage your symptoms. 

If you need help in managing your ADHD symptoms and don’t know where to start, have a look at my Mind Your Gut Program.  It includes all testing (including the HTMA test), consultations and email support throughout.

If you would like to chat about the above or have any questions about how I can help, you are welcome to book a FREE 20 min health assessment call here