Having a fatty liver can give you PMS

By naturopath Margaret Jasinska

When we think of PMS and other menstrual problems, we usually think of a hormone imbalance and how to correct it. Did you know your liver is a key player in keeping your sex hormones balanced?

Women with a fatty liver are more likely to get PMS for a few reasons.

  • They find it more difficult to break down oestrogen, and thus have higher blood levels of oestrogen. Oestrogen starts to build up in the body, and leads to oestrogen dominance. Oestrogen and progesterone need to be balanced with each other, but when oestrogen rises and progesterone drops, relative progesterone deficiency occurs.
    Your liver is constantly working hard, trying to break down and clear chemicals and toxins from everyday life, car fumes, pesticides and herbicides, cleaning products, processed foods, cosmetics and personal care products, alcohol and plastics. This places a strain on your liver and over time, it can cause inflammation or damage to the liver and lead to inefficient clearance of hormones. This is particularly so for anyone with a fatty liver, where liver detoxification is compromised.
    Another problem is the fact that many of the toxins we are regularly exposed to contain artificial chemicals that resemble oestrogen. These are known as xeno-oestrogens and mimic the effect of oestrogen in the body, worsening a hormonal imbalance. Xeno-oestrogens may contribute to conditions such as premenstrual tension, sore breasts, endometriosis and fibroids.
  • If the male hormone testosterone is not broken down efficiently by the liver, this can lead to an excess of testosterone in the body. This can result in weight gain in the upper part of the body on the trunk and abdomen. These women develop an apple shape and they are prone to developing polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS can cause failure to ovulate and insufficient progesterone production.
  • If you have too much of the wrong gut bugs (dysbiosis), you can be breaking down oestrogen into more harmful metabolites, and reabsorbing that oestrogen back into your bloodstream. This leads to higher levels of potentially harmful (proliferative) oestrogen which raises the risk of endometriosis and fibroids. The majority of our patients with a fatty liver have some kind of gut problem: too much of the wrong gut bugs, insufficient good bugs, yeast overgrowth or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Waste products from these gut bugs can injure the liver, leading to fatty liver.
  • If you have a fatty liver, your liver is probably not producing sufficient bile. This can impair the digestion of essential fatty acids and fat soluble vitamins and antioxidants. Our sex hormones are made of fat, therefore this scenario can lead to a hormone imbalance. Also bile acts as a disinfectant in the gut, helping to prevent bacterial overgrowth. Bile has a mild laxative effect, therefore people who don’t produce enough of it are prone to sluggish bowels. Not eliminating adequately means not excreting oestrogen efficiently. An ox bile supplement may be helpful, and Fibretone can help to clean the colon. Contact us if you would like more information.

Here are some tips to improve liver function and naturally balance hormones

  • Increase protein intake – Good protein sources include chicken, oily fish, meat, eggs, unflavoured plain yogurt and whey protein powder. Vegan first class protein can be obtained by combining legumes (beans, lentils, peas) with raw nuts and/or seeds. Protein promotes satiety and reduces cravings for carbohydrates.
  • Eat more good fats – Contrary to popular belief, we need to consume healthy fats to support healthy liver function and a fast metabolism. Healthy fats can be found in seafood, cold pressed olive oil, coconut oil, raw nuts and seeds. On the other hand, damaged fats are found in all deep-fried foods, margarines and cheap cooking oils.
  • Eat more plant foods – Raw vegetables and fruits are the most powerful liver healing foods. Eat a large salad at least once a day, and make your own dressing made with cold pressed olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon or lime juice. Raw foods help to cleanse and repair the liver filter, so it is able to trap and remove more fat and toxins from the bloodstream. Whilst attempting to reverse a fatty liver and lose weight, we recommend consuming no more than two pieces of fruit a day. See the raw vegetable juice recommendations in Dr Cabot’s book Raw Juices Can Save Your Life.
  • Follow a low carb diet – A low carb way of eating means eliminating sugar, flour and foods containing these things. If you are overweight and struggle to lose weight, it is very effective to exclude all grains for at least three months. There is an excellent eating plan in Dr Cabot’s book Fatty Liver: You Can Reverse It.
  • Magnesium helps relieve symptoms of premenstrual tension – It is a wonderfully relaxing mineral that may also help with sleep, muscle cramps and symptoms of stress.
  • Consider bio-identical progesterone – This helps to correct the imbalance between oestrogen and progesterone and helps to regulate the menstrual cycle. Progesterone cream requires a doctor’s prescription.
  • Exercise regularly – Maintain a regular exercise regime to boost your metabolism and reduce insulin levels. Good exercise options include walking, running, cycling, swimming and resistance exercises. Half an hour of exercise each day is optimal, and you may benefit from exercising with a friend or family member. Once you improve your liver function, you will notice your energy levels will rise and your mood and mental state will be much better.
  • Consider doing the Dr Cabot Cleanse – This is a 15 day plan that works on cleansing your liver and gut and restoring immune health. It is an easy to follow plan that comes with delicious recipes.
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