By Sandra Cabot MD
The relationship between the liver and hormones is an interesting one. The liver does not make hormones itself, as these are made in the many different glands in the body and not many people associate their liver with their hormones. The truth is that the liver plays a significant role in hormonal imbalances because the liver breaks down or metabolizes the hormones once they have done their work in the body.
The liver breaks down the group of hormones known as the steroid hormones which include –
• Aldosterone which controls the balance of the minerals sodium and potassium and water in the body
• The sex hormones which control our sex life and body shape
• Cortisone which controls the immune system
If the liver is not efficient at breaking down these hormones they can accumulate in the body and cause hormonal imbalances
If aldosterone is not broken down efficiently this can result in fluid retention and many women find this is a problem. Fluid retention can lead to uncomfortable puffiness, an aggravation of cellulite and weight gain. It can also raise the blood pressure.
With the sex hormones things can become more complicated so let’s take a look at what happens if your liver does not break down the sex hormones efficiently.
- If the female hormone estrogen is not broken down efficiently, this can lead to excessive levels of estrogen in the body. Excess estrogen can cause breast pain and lumpiness, heavy painful menstrual bleeding and weight gain around the hips, buttocks and thighs. This is very frustrating for women who are pear shaped as they may develop cellulite around the hips and thighs. Pear shaped women are known as Gynaeoid shaped women and they often have a weight problem in the lower part of their body.
- If the male hormone testosterone is not broken down efficiently, this can lead to an excess of testosterone in the body, which can result in weight gain in the upper part of the body on the trunk and abdomen. These women develop an apple shape and are known as the Android body type. To determine your body type, go to www.weightcontroldoctor.com and do the interactive questionnaire which will give you your answer immediately! It’s a free service and you will enjoy this easy exercise. There are four different body types and each one has unique hormonal and metabolic characteristics. Excess male hormones can also lead to excess facial and body hair, greasy skin, acne and loss of hair from the scalp. Many women with polycystic ovarian syndrome have excess male hormone levels associated with a dysfunctional liver; their hormonal imbalance can be reduced by improving liver function. Natural progesterone cream can also help women with polycystic ovarian syndrome whereas the oral contraceptive pill may overload their liver and lead to more weight gain.
The liver also has a relationship with the hormone insulin, which is very important when it comes to your metabolism and tendency to gain weight. Insulin is made in the pancreas gland and regulates the metabolism of fats and carbohydrate. Most people with a weight problem have an imbalance in their insulin levels and this makes it very hard for them to lose weight. In overweight people insulin does not work properly and this results in the body trying to compensate by making high levels of insulin. This condition is known as Syndrome X and also as the metabolic syndrome. Insulin is a fat storing hormone so that the high levels of insulin promote the storage of fat especially in the abdominal area. The high levels of insulin also send a message to the liver to store more fat, so many people with a high insulin level develop a fatty liver. A fatty liver is very sluggish and will not break down hormones efficiently and this causes further weight gain and fluid retention. The combination of fatty liver and Syndrome X often eventually leads to diabetes type 2. Thankfully it is possible to reverse these problems using our principles of nutritional medicine.
The solution to all these problems is to improve the function of the liver and this will result in –
- Increased fat burning
- The correction of hormonal imbalances
- Increased energy
- Improved immune function
The Liver Cleansing Diet is an excellent and proven way to improve your liver function and enhance fat burning. It also detoxifies the body increasing the breakdown and removal of toxic chemicals from the liver and fat tissue. The Liver Cleansing diet is an 8 week eating plan designed to provide your liver with the correct balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. It is easy to follow and most enjoyable as the menus and recipes are delicious.
For telephone help – Phone Phoenix on 623 334 3232
You may also phone my natural therapist Christine Ki who works in our Phoenix office and is dedicated to helping people improve their liver function through natural therapies. You may also send your questions via email from our web site and they will be answered.