Real talk. I know being gluten free is trendy and annoying. It almost always makes me the center of attention at family events or when out with new friends. I get millions of questions and feel as if I am on trial for choosing to not eat gluten. I could argue all the reasons for going gluten free for days but for today I will stick to hormones.
HOW DOES GLUTEN EFFECT HORMONES?
Gluten fuels inflammation and in turn makes hormone imbalances worse. Gluten inflames and damages the small intestine, in particular the villi on the surface of the small intestine. When they get damaged, we are unable to absorb nutrients and food moves very slowly through the intestines creating a longer transit time, that means excess estrogen stays in the body longer leading to estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance is the most common hormone imbalance in women.
WHAT IS ESTROGEN DOMINANCE?
MEN, LISTEN UP. This is just as common for you as it is for women!
Estrogen dominance happens when there is an overload of estrogen in the body in comparison to progesterone.
The main causes: the foods we eat (gluten, processed foods and non-organic produce covered in chemicals), the toxic products we use on our skin and in cleaning products, stress, poor sleep and other environmental factors such as blue light, EMFs and environmental toxins.
When our bodies elimination pathways are not working up to par, the result is lack of nutrients, a disrupted gut microbiome, and inability to deal with toxins. Our body cannot process and eliminate this excess estrogen efficiently. Another reason we need to be pooping everyday. A body nourished with proper nutrient dense foods has a better chance of coping with the synthetic estrogens we are surrounded by daily. Most of us are not eating in a way that supports our detox pathways. This leads to a toxic build up of excess estrogens throwing our bodies into wack! One of the biggest culprits of constipation or digestive issues leading to toxicity is gluten!
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ESTROGEN DOMINANCE:
- hormonal acne
- ovarian cysts
- Thyroid disorders
- Heavy periods
- Weight gain
- Irregular periods
- Low libido
- Sore, painful breasts
- In Men: weight gain particularly in breast tissue, low libido, erectile dysfunction, depression, loss of energy, fatigue, decrease in muscle mass
LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF ESTROGEN DOMINANCE:
- Female cancers
- Heart disease
- Blood clots
Gluten stays in your system for up to six weeks after consuming it and takes about six months for the villi to return to normal levels and restore the small intestine to full health. So when you go gluten free you want to avoid it fully. You can’t go gluten free and still have the occasional gluten because your body will remain inflamed.
Some people do fine with gluten, having a stronger constitution than others. If you have any digestive symptoms, inflammation in your body, hormonal issues or any health problems at all, I would recommend eliminating it for a few weeks to see how you feel. You can decide, is it worth the consequence?