How Your Liver Impacts Your Hormones
Your liver works really hard for you. It gets bombarded all day long with toxins and chemicals, so you can imagine how worn out it gets over the years. No wonder so many of us are walking around with hormone imbalances, terrible PMS, acne, uncontrollable mood and much more. All of these health concerns can arise because our liver is tired and sluggish!
Let’s think of your liver as a baseball player. How many homeruns do you think your liver gets? If you are walking around with hormone imbalances, PMS, endometrioses, and acne, I bet your liver has been striking out a lot. In this blog let’s dive into the areas your liver is striking out, and how to fix it.
The liver is so important, with over 500 functions it is always working! Some of these functions include filtering blood, converting vitamins into an active form for use and storage, and of course, it detoxifies chemicals, toxins, histamine, drugs (including birth hormonal control), hormones (like estrogen, thyroid hormones, aldosterone), nicotine, heavy metals, caffeine and much more.
When your liver is overburdened it will prioritize detoxifying chemicals, alcohol, medications, and detoxification of your hormones falls by the wayside. This is why when we see an increased use of medications and toxin exposure, we see more hormone issues! … STRIKE #1
The liver works in two phases, phase 1 is detoxification is all about breaking down the chemical or hormone into various metabolites. But these metabolites can be more toxic than the original product! So we need to make sure to support phase 1 detoxification by:
- Eating cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, broccoli sprouts, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts
- Beets, burdock root, garlic, grapefruit, complete proteins, turmeric, green tea, dandelion root tea
- Supplement with Diindolylmethane (DIM), glutathione, quercetin, and resveratrol, N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
These support the breakdown of hormones and provides antioxidants to ensure phase 1 is working properly. But things like nutritional deficiencies, toxin exposure, alcohol consumption, low protein intake, and medications can inhibit phase 1 detoxification!
Phase 2 detoxification in the liver focuses on neutralizing the toxic metabolites produced in phase 1, this process is called methylation. Neutralizing these metabolites will ensure they will not re-circulate around your body and cause problems (like estrogen dominance)! We can support phase 2 detoxification by supplementing with
- Betaine (Trimethylglycine)
- Methylated B vitamins
Once these hormones, toxins, and chemicals are neutralized by the liver they are delivered to the gut for excretion. But if your gut health or microbiome is dysfunctional (i.e. you have candida, parasites, leaky gut, IBS, constipation) it can result in re-absorption of the hormones & metabolites … STRIKE #2!
To ensure our gut get and digestion is working well we need to:
Last but not least, if you're on hormonal birth control or other medications you are adding even more synthetic hormones and chemicals into your body, adding to the burden on the liver … STRIKE #3, YOU’RE OUT!
So, what can we do about it? Are detox kits or juice cleanses the answer? NO! The liver works best when we 1) reduce the burden from toxins and chemicals and 2) support our natural detoxification pathways with essential nutrients.
10 ways to support your liver today:
- Eat 3-6 cups of vegetables per day, especially cruciferous vegetables.
- Beets, burdock root, garlic, grapefruit, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, kale, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, turmeric
- Eat more healthy protein!
- Complete proteins from meat are best (eg: grass-fed & grass-finished beef, free-range chicken)
- Eat healthy fats - monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as cold-pressed olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil, olives
- Hydrate more! Aim for 3L/day
- Avoid inflammatory foods: refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, pasta, sugars), inflammatory fats (canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil, etc.)
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Avoid toxins - plastics (switch to glass), cleaning products, aerosols, pesticides, cleaning products, insecticides, perfumes, drugs. Try using natural cleaning products with essential oils instead!
- 8Ease up on medications when possible (consult your health care provider first) - frequent use of over-the-counter medications can harm your liver because the liver is responsible for processing these medications to make them effective.
- Castor oil packs over your liver
- Supplement with a multivitamin, methylated B vitamin complex (make sure folate and B12 are methylated), magnesium, zinc, Vitamin C, Diindolylmethane (DIM), glutathione, quercetin, resveratrol, or N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
- Consult your health care provider to find out which one is right for you!