The Importance of Good Liver Function in Menopause

digestion Sep 26, 2019

 There are many changes in menopause that can affect the functioning of the liver and contribute to the development of liver disease. The most common being fatty liver disease. 


Estrogen exerts many liver-related benefits. It protects the liver by

  • inhibiting the formation and development of fibrosis (which can lead to a fatty liver)
  • protecting against mitochondria damage (fatigue)
  • inhibiting cellular senescence (where cells stop dividing and premature aging occurs)
  • increasing innate immunity (the ability to defend ourself against toxic substances and bugs)
  • promoting a favourable balance between an anti-oxidant and a pro-oxidant state (inflammation)


With the reduction of estrogen comes changes within the liver itself. Data has shown an approximate reduction in function at 1% per year starting in peri-menopause. Findings include:

  • the reduction in liver blood flow and volume
  • reduced overall function
  • reduced ability to regenerate


In menopause the main form of estrogen changes from estradiol (produced from the ovaries) to estrone (produced in the adipose tissue and liver). We need the liver to produce estrogen now but we also need estrogen for the proper functioning of the liver.  Hence the increase in liver pathology at this time.


Symptoms your liver isn't coping well include headaches, itchy skin, pain in your upper right quadrant (lower part of your ribs), fatigue, weakness, nausea, easy bruising, swollen ankles, brain fog, skin pigmentation, insomnia, weight gain, constipation, etc.


It's important to have an annual liver function test. For more information on testing see testing for menopause.


The average woman is exposed to hundreds of chemicals every day, all of which her liver needs to process. A few easy changes like eating organic foods or changing your personal care products to chemical-free versions allow the liver more breathing room. Fewer chemicals in, the less work the liver must do to remove them. Giving the liver breathing room allows it to go back and start processing the chemicals it has put into storage, as it was too busy to process them. The body can store chemicals almost anywhere. The liver prioritises getting toxins out of the bloodstream to prevent them from getting to vital organs and potentially causing death. However, it still wreaks havoc in storage, e.g., lead loves your bones and it displaces calcium, and makes your bones brittle. To learn how to create a healthy home and reduce the number of chemicals you are exposed to in the first place, click here.


Foods that support optimal liver function:

  • Globe artichoke
  • Cruciferous vegetables especially broccoli
  • Spices: turmeric, garlic, ginger
  • Citrus fruit: lemons
  • Beetroot
  • Protein: nuts, fish and eggs
  • Greens: dandelion, coriander, and spinach
  • Berries: blueberries
  • Avocado
  • Spirulina
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Water—it’s essential to stay hydrated
  • Herbal teas:  milk thistle, dandelion, green tea.


Lifestyle practices work by stimulating lymphatic drainage. Anything that stimulates lymphatic movement encourages detoxification. Include as many of these lifestyle factors as possible:

  • Dry skin brushing, towards the heart
  • Any form of movement, such as walking, rebounding, yoga
  • Acupuncture
  • Stretching
  • Massage
  • Epsom salt bath
  • Infra red saunas


Don't forget your liver is amazingly resilient and in most cases is capable of regeneration. The sooner you start taking care of your liver, the easier it is to keep it healthy.


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