Effect of Estrogen Levels on Fat Storage, Toxicity, and Liver Function

Effect of Estrogen Levels on Fat Storage, Toxicity, and Liver Function

Estrogen is a hormone that has broad reaching effects on the female body. There are some areas where these effects are much more noticeable:  fat storage, liver function, and toxicity. Women experience highs and lows in their estrogen levels throughout their lives, and even throughout each month with their menstrual cycles.

In order to understand the role of estrogen, one needs to understand the menstrual cycle as well.  The menstrual cycle is broken down into two separate phases that are divided up by ovulation; the follicular phase and the luteal phase.  The follicular phase is when the ovarian follicles mature and is associated with much higher estrogen levels.

shutterstock_106505960Estrogen and Fat Storage

Estrogen is one of the hormones responsible for fat storage in the hips, thighs, and breasts.  Progesterone is another hormone that affects fat storage in women.  Women who experience menstrual cycles tend to have smaller waists than those who have reached menopause.  This is due in part to the effects of progesterone working with estrogen to prevent the increase of fat storage at the waist.  When a woman reaches menopause, their estrogen levels are lower, which is why fat begins to build up in the middle at that time.  If a woman is dealing with an estrogen deficiency, this can result in the added weight in the waist area.  Stress, however, also plays a role in increasing the amount of fat that is stored at the waist instead of in other areas.

Why the Increase in Fat Storage?

It is important to understand that fat cells also produce estrogen.  When your estrogen production levels drop, it causes the body to find estrogen in other areas.  Since the fat cells can produce estrogen, your body begins to increase fat storage as a way to get the estrogen needed by beginning to store any extra calories consumed as fat rather than burning them as energy.  However, pre-menopausal women have been found to burn more fat as fuel during exercise as a result of their higher levels of estrogen.  This means that women who have lower estrogen levels can balance out the levels somewhat by increasing their moderate to high intensity exercise because more fat will be burned off.

shutterstock_245873155Nutritional Influence on Estrogen and Fat Storage

Since estrogen levels decrease as we age, it is important to pay attention to nutrition in order to counteract the effects on fat storage.  Many of the packaged foods we eat are processed and contain hormones, chemicals, and pesticides that all increase fat storage.  The good news is that there are many plant based foods that contain indoles and flavonoids, which help with the regulation of fat storage and estrogen production.  Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, and garlic and onions all contain high amounts of the compounds that inhibit estrogen fat storage.  Green tea, red wine, honey, citrus fruits, dark chocolate, salmon, and flaxseed are also foods that inhibit estrogen.

Natural Methods for Inhibiting Fat Storage

While many women resort to hormone replacement therapy in an effort to deal with these changes, there are natural methods that can help decrease the amount of fat that is stored.  Making lifestyle choices can make a big difference in the amount of fat that is stored due to estrogen levels.  These changes include avoiding foods that are processed, as well as any foods like fruits, animal products and vegetables that contain chemicals.  Eating a diet that is full of whole foods, along with regular exercise will promote weight loss, even when estrogen levels are too low.

shutterstock_115489888Estrogen and Liver Toxicity

Estrogen levels also play a key role in liver function.  The liver is the filtration system of the body, which means that it is responsible for metabolizing hormones and other toxins in the body in an effort to flush them out.  Estrogen is in three forms in our bloodstream: estrone, estriol, and estradiol.  All of these estrogens perform important functions in the body, and when they have reached their target tissues they move on to the liver to be metabolized.  Normally, this process keeps everything in balance, so there are no issues.  However, the addition of estrogens from processed foods and other dietary means can lead to too much estrogen production in the body.  When this happens, the liver is unable to handle the increase in these hormones, so they build up in the liver and cause toxicity.

Hormone Regulation in the Liver

The liver regulates hormone levels by eliminating them in the urine or bile as they enter the bloodstream.  If the liver is not able to filter out enough of the estrogen during the metabolization process, it causes the level of estrogen in the bloodstream to continue to increase.  Since estrogen is a growth hormone, these increased levels can result in endometriosis, uterine fibroids, breast cancer, ovarian cysts, prostate cancer, or prostate enlargement.  Additionally, the buildup of estrogen in the liver results in liver toxicity.

shutterstock_243381178Estrogen Sources

In addition to the estrogen produced in the body naturally, it is also produced as a result of antibiotics and other chemicals in food.  It has also been found that estrogen dominance also occurs in those who drink excessive amounts of alcohol or use drugs.  Estrogen is also introduced in the environment through pesticides, as well as chemical reactions that occur with chlorine and hormone additives that are found in many meats.

Liver Toxicity

Liver toxicity is a dangerous condition that causes a wide range of problems throughout the body because the liver is not able to perform its functions properly.  Liver toxicity can result in many different conditions, but it very difficult to diagnose properly.

  • Chronic Fatigue – Chronic fatigue is a condition that causes sufferers to feel run down and lethargic, no matter how much rest they get. They may also experience aches, pains, and stiffness as a result.
  • Emotional Instability – Liver toxicity can cause depression, moodiness, and mood swings.
  • Digestive Problems – These can include bloating, seeming to be unable to lose weight and other stomach issues.
  • Gynecomastia – The buildup of estrogen in males can result in the enlargement of breast tissue when the liver is not able to remove the excessive amounts of estrogen in men.

shutterstock_174456914Detoxification

When the liver has reached the point of toxicity, it is possible to reverse these effects through natural liver detoxification.  These methods will allow your liver essentially to take a break because you are not introducing even more chemicals and toxins on a daily basis.  While there have been many juices and other detoxification tools introduced recently, the best methods of cleaning all the toxins from your liver are natural.  A natural liver detoxification requires dietary changes that will limit the amount of toxins introduced into your body through your foods, which will allow the liver to jump start the cleaning process, and begin filtering the harmful toxins in a better manner.


Step One – Dietary Changes

When you begin the liver detoxification process, you will need to make sure that your diet includes natural foods that are knownhave built up over time.

You will want to make sure that your diet includes natural, organic, or whole fruits and vegetables.  You will also increase the amount of fiber in your diet by adding whole grains, such as those you can get from cereals or oatmeal that do not have added sugars, flavors, or other unnatural additions.  Freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices will help flush your liver while also adding a bit of fiber as well.

Vitamins

Your body will need vitamins, and there are foods that provide the vitamins E, C, and zinc, which will also assist in the detoxification process, including artichokes, beets, cauliflower, greens, and cabbage.

Green Tea

Green tea has been proven over and over to have serious health benefits, and the same is true for your liver.  Green tea contains antioxidants that work to remove free radicals (cancer causing agents) in your body, as well as purifying your liver and body overall.

Water

It is no secret that water is one of the most important and beneficial things for your body.  When you increase the amount of water, you drink to 8 to 10 8oz. glasses of water per day, you will not only help your liver flush out toxins much more quickly, you will also assist help ensure that your kidneys are getting flushed out as well.

Natural Juices

The best juices to add to your diet when cleansing your liver are apple and orange juices.  You want to ensure that you are drinking at least one 8 oz glass of these juices per day, but you must make sure they are fresh juices, not those that you buy at your local grocery.  Freshly squeezed juices contain all of the nutrients and vitamins that your body needs.  Pre-packaged juices are often put through a pasteurization process, which removes a great deal of the beneficial vitamins and minerals that your body requires to effectively remove the toxins in your body.

Foods to Avoid

While you are detoxifying your liver, you will need to make sure to avoid the foods that are responsible for increasing the toxicity in the first place.  This means you will need to completely avoid any foods that are high in saturated fats, such as most fast food choices, as well as soft drinks.  Red meats, animal fats, margarine, and fried foods should not be eaten during the detoxification of your liver.  These foods are typically high in fats, as well as added hormones and antibiotics.

Following the Liver Detox Diet

You should follow the liver detoxification diet for around 10 days to get the maximum benefits, although even 7 days will provide good results.  The important thing to remember is that if you return completely to your old diet and beverages, the toxicity of your liver will return over time.  If you want to limit these effects, you should continue to avoid the foods that create this problem, and instead focus on including more fiber and vegetables in your diet on a daily basis.  If you are unable to follow this type of diet, you should make sure to incorporate the liver detoxification process into your diet on a regular basis to make sure that the extra estrogen is flushed out.

Other Detox Methods

There are many other detoxification juices and diets that claim to completely flush out your liver in just a few days.  These methods generally focus on specific juices or fasting, which makes them very difficult for most people to follow.  While they may help flush out your liver and the rest of your body, they can also cause problems due to a lack of nutrients that your body needs to function properly.

If you believe that you are suffering from liver toxicity due to high levels of estrogen and other hormones in the body, a liver detoxification can make a huge difference in your health and overall well-being.  However, you should make sure to speak with your doctor or other healthcare professional before you make any drastic changes in diet and exercise to make sure that you are healthy enough to continue the process.