We sat down with women's health expert & nutritionist Katherine Hay to discuss all things health & wellness.
How did you become interested in women's health ?
It all started for me when I was at university and I was completing my clinical practice. I saw many women through the clinic with a diverse range of health complications and when I started to see their health improve my love for women’s health was ignited.
What is your personal approach to health & wellness ?
Everything in moderation. I love being flexible with my own health and wellness as it allows me to enjoy life and food. I have always been a foodie and therefore love a good croissant and coffee on a Saturday morning and then having a cheeky margarita with the girls on a Saturday night. I really dislike fad diets and food restriction as I know first hand these do not work and create more food anxiety. I believe all food plays a special part of everyone's health journey and I’m here to celebrate that. Obviously there are circumstances where this isn’t always the case but I’m very mindful of emotional wellbeing and live by my mantra ‘Do shit that makes you happy’ and if we don’t have our mental health we cannot expect to have our physical health. They are entwined and connected and work together rather than separately.
How has this evolved since becoming a mum ?
Since becoming a mum it has just opened up my eyes even more to how important everything I mentioned above is. I want to teach Sunny how to nourish herself to make her feel good and enjoy the simple pleasures in life such as being out in nature.
Why is gut health so important ? What effect does this have on our hormones etc. ?
For me, the gut is the epicenter to our overall health. It directly affects many areas of the body and hormones is one of those areas. The gut microbiome plays a huge role in the regulation of oestrogen levels. This can influence the risk of developing oestrogen related conditions such as intense PMS, endometriosis, different types of PCOS and PMDD. The estrobolome is a collection of microbes that metabolize oestrogen in the gut. These microbes produce an enzyme beta-glucuronidase which changes them into their active forms.
These active oestrogen molecules are capable of binding to oestrogen receptors and can influence oestrogen-dependent conditions. This is why I’m extremely passionate about gut health and supporting the hormone response.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to balance their hormones ?
I always suggest working with a practitioner because these pathways are extremely intricate and delicate. Understanding what your body needs to thrive and function at an individual level is the key to addressing hormone conditions as everyone is vastly different.
How does gut health affect the skin ?
Our skin is the largest elimination organ therefore any inflammatory skin conditions are usually the result of an unhappy gut microbiome. The human gut hosts a myriad of diverse bacterial organisms that are constantly communicating with our skin bacteria. The skin hosts it’s own microbiome and there is a direct link between gut health and skin health. When there is dysbiosis in the gut it usually manifests with skin infections and inflammation. Healthy skin always starts within.
How do you take care of your skin (products / supplements) ?
I use the entire Maaemo range to support my skin topically which has been a game changer for my skin health. I also take practitioner only supplements to ensure my skin is receiving the best quality supplements. These are zinc, fish oil, vitamin C, Vitamin D and specific probiotics.
What are your favourite products ?