How Liver Function Affects Hormones
Hormone Balance and Liver Function: What You Need to Know
The liver is the second largest organ in your body and is responsible for hundreds of vital body functions. However, few people realize the part the liver plays in hormone balance within the body. Let’s explore the liver’s function, why keeping your liver healthy is critical to hormone balance, and how to keep your liver healthy.
The Liver’s Function
The liver is a giant filter for our bodies. Its primary function is detoxification, which removes nutrients to keep for energy and releases toxins and metabolic waste. The liver detoxification process takes place in two phases.
In phase one, detoxification substances (including hormones) are broken down and changed into metabolites to be processed in the next detoxification phase. Phase two of liver detoxification involves changing the toxins from phase one into water-soluble forms that can be eliminated from the body. Alterations can occur in either phase resulting in a buildup of toxins.
Specific functions of the liver include:
- Purifying the blood
- Storage of fat-soluble vitamins
- Protein synthesis
- Glycogen storage and conversion for energy
- Cholesterol production
- Metabolizing medications
- Regulating hormones and eliminating excess hormones
How does the liver affect hormones?
The liver does not produce hormones independently, but it plays a vital role in regulating hormones. If your liver is unhealthy or sluggish, it cannot effectively regulate hormones. The primary hormone affected by the liver is estrogen. The liver produces sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) that regulates levels of estrogen. When the liver is not functioning well, estrogen is reabsorbed through the digestive system. Estrogen builds up in the body leading to estrogen dominance.
Too much estrogen contributes to several potential problems:
- Breast cancer
- Weight gain
- Irregular or abnormal periods
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Recurrent yeast infections
- Cold hands and feet
- Irritability and depression
Signs of a sluggish liver
Traditional lab tests to evaluate liver function may not show early signs of a sluggish liver. If you are experiencing any of the following, it could be a warning that your liver is struggling:
- Elevated cholesterol levels
- Weight gain
- Heart disease
- Digestive problems
- Skin rashes or allergies
- Blood sugar problems
- Signs of hormonal imbalance
- Intolerance to alcohol
- Intolerance to coffee
- Easy bruising
- Dark urine or stools
How to maintain a healthy liver
The good news is that your liver can regenerate itself. With proper care, you can reverse the signs of a sluggish liver and return the liver to its optimum function. Here are some strategies to properly care for your liver:
- Take digestive enzymes.
- Increase fiber in your diet with flax seed or chia seed.
- Take a high-quality B complex vitamin.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise regularly.
- Decrease or avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Reduce or eliminate dairy.
- Reduce inflammatory fats such as red meat.
- Eliminate processed foods and eat organic.
- Minimize exposure to environmental toxins.
A detoxification program can be highly beneficial to jumpstart efforts to revive your liver. Detoxing your liver and cleansing your body of unwanted and harmful toxins will help reverse the accumulated damage and return your liver to a healthy state.
Additionally, a program of nutritional supplements designed to support liver function will keep your liver functioning well. Consider taking the following supplements:
- Vitamin B complex
- Milk thistle
- Alpha-lipoic acid
If you are experiencing hormonal imbalance or sluggish liver, Vitality Aesthetics and Regenerative Medicine can help. We can design a detoxification program and liver support program tailored to your needs. Please contact us for a personalized consultation.