Case Study: Hormones And The Liver
Margaret was typical of many women who come to see me trying to restore balance in their lives around the time of menopause.
She was 52 years old and had gained 48 pounds (more than 21 kg) since she went through menopause 2 years ago. She was an apple-shaped woman (Android body type) carrying all her excessive weight in the abdominal area and had a roll of fat around her upper abdomen. This roll of fat around the upper abdomen often indicates that the liver is fatty, and I refer to it as a “liver roll”.
Margaret’s husband kept trying to motivate her to lose weight so she forced herself to avoid eating; but even when she avoided food for a period of time, she did not lose weight. She had tried to eat low-fat diet foods thinking that these were the safest however she did not check the labels to see that most of them contained a lot of sugar, which sabotaged her weight loss.
Margaret’s doctor had diagnosed her with osteopenia, which is a forerunner to osteoporosis. Her mother had experienced several broken bones due to osteoporosis and Margaret was scared of going down the same path. She was also very unhappy with the quality of her hair, skin and nails. They were dry and brittle.
Her doctor had given her high doses of the hormone estrogen in the form of Premarin tablets, which contain potent horse estrogens as well as human estrogens. Margaret did not realize that she had a fatty liver, and her poor dysfunctional liver could not cope with the strong hormones she was taking. Understandably, they had caused more weight gain because her fatty liver could not break down the hormones efficiently and Margaret was trapped in a vicious circle of ever increasing weight. She probably didn’t even need such strong hormones to alleviate menopausal symptoms anyway, as a fatty liver is often responsible for hot flashes. If we can improve her liver health, menopause symptoms will usually be reduced.
After testing Margaret with an ultrasound scan I confirmed that she had a fatty liver and high triglyceride, insulin and blood sugar levels. She also felt hungry most of the time and craved carbohydrates such as bread, biscuits, pasta and sweets. Indeed if she did not eat these things she would feel tired, shaky, dizzy and moody and her vision would blur. These are typical symptoms of early or pre-diabetes.
Margaret was relieved to discover that she had a specific diagnosis of fatty liver, as this gave her an explanation as to why she continued to put on weight, despite avoiding over eating.
I stopped her Premarin and gave her a prescription for a hormone cream containing low doses of natural human estrogen and natural progesterone. The hormones from the cream are absorbed directly into the circulation through the skin and do not have to go through the liver. Hormone tablets are absorbed from the gut and pass directly through the liver before they get into the circulation; this increases the workload of the liver.
The very low doses of natural hormones in the cream would be much better for her overworked liver, which could now get on with its job of burning fat. I also gave her FemmePhase capsules, which contain a mix of herbs with natural phyto-estrogens to alleviate menopause symptoms, and nutrients specifically required by women Margaret’s age.
Margaret loved protein, nuts and salads and found that when she stayed on these foods she avoided the wild swings in her blood sugar levels. She found that her hunger was controlled by avoiding carbohydrates such as breads, biscuits and pasta. She had thought these foods were helping her but such high carbohydrate foods will increase the appetite. I also gave Margaret Hair, Skin & Nails Food capsules.
I asked Margaret to take 2 Bone Build capsules each evening with her meal, as they contain the full range of vitamins and minerals required to strengthen her bone density.
Vitamin D helps the absorption of calcium into the skeleton and Margaret had good levels of vitamin D in her bloodstream. She enjoyed spending time in the garden in the sun regularly,and this enabled her to produce sufficient vitamin D. If you don’t have the time to spend in the sun, or you don’t live in a sunny climate, a vitamin D supplement may be necessary.
Over a 6-month period Margaret lost 44 pounds (20 kg), and best of all she lost her potbelly! She was able to fit into her old clothes and wear attractive belts again.
I find that many women with a fatty liver are taking inappropriate hormone replacement therapy, which is aggravating their obesity. It is not wise to take tablets containing strong or synthetic hormones, as these will increase the workload of the liver. I recommend hormone creams or patches containing natural estrogen and progesterone as these are absorbed directly through the skin and bypass the liver. If we can reduce the workload of the liver it will be more efficient at burning fat.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.