The diversity of your gut bacteria refers to the abundance of different types of microbes. As a rule, the more diverse your gut microbes, the healthier you are. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism further supports this idea. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute discovered that gut bacterial diversity may play a role in the eventual development of breast cancer.
“In women who had more diverse communities of gut bacteria, higher levels of estrogen fragments were left after the body metabolized the hormone, compared to women with less diverse intestinal bacteria,” noted James Goedert, MD, one of the researchers. “This pattern suggests that these women may have a lower risk of developing breast cancer.”
Could it be that our bacteria take over our living environments as a protective measure over our health? I would certainly not be surprised. I like the idea of having an arThe researchers collected fecal and urine samples from 60 postmenopausal women aged 55 to 69 and analyzed them for the ratio of estrogen fragments to estrogen, which is a known predictor of breast cancer. my of beneficial bacteria surrounding me at all times.
What does gut bacterial diversity have to do with estrogen and breast cancer, you might ask? Well, bacteria in the gut actually metabolize estrogen that is excreted into the digestive tract, affecting the balance of estrogen and estrogen metabolites. Some estrogen is even reabsorbed from the gut into circulation, which can affect overall estrogen levels in the body. This new research suggests that gut bacterial diversity may play an important role on estrogen levels and breast cancer risk.
The best way to improve gut bacterial diversity is to eat a diet high in foods that replenish gut bacteria (fermented foods) and foods that feed good bacteria (those foods high in prebiotic fibers). Adding probiotic and fiber supplements will also help. As we see here, optimizing gut health is the key to better total-body health.