The liver metabolizes hormones, notably testosterone and estrogen. The nutrient status of the individual will largely determine if estrogen is properly metabolized or becomes excessive in the body. Poor liver function, coupled with a deficiency of “good” bacteria in the colon, results in hormonal imbalances in both men and women that can put them at risk for developing disease.
Certain B vitamins are needed by the liver to detoxify estrogen and excrete it in the bile. With today’s common vitamin B deficiencies, estrogen is not metabolized properly, and the result is increased levels of toxic estrogen metabolites. Excess estrogen plus toxic metabolites produce cholestasis (diminished bile flow), resulting in further reduction in estrogen detoxification.
Conditions such as PMS, fibrocystic breast disease, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids and cancer of the breasts, ovaries and uterus have been associated with elevated estrogen.
Cholesterol, a “fat-like steroid alcohol”, and its role in heart disease is widely misunderstood. It is a substance found in all animal fat, and it serves many vital functions such as :
- essential for cell wall construction
- a building block for sex and adrenal hormones
- needed for vitamin D synthesis
- needed for producing bile salts
- needed for proper function of the nervous system
Although some cholesterol is absorbed from food, the bulk of it is manufactured in the liver. The liver not only synthesizes cholesterol, it is also critical in controlling cholesterol levels in the blood.
The condition of the liver is far more important in determining cholesterol levels than the amount of animal fat we eat. If the liver is functioning optimally, and if the animal products consumed are high quality (grassfed, organic) and man-made fats (hydrogenated) are avoided, the risk of heart disease from the diet should be minimal.
A healthy liver converts dietary cholesterol into bile and temporarily slows its own production of cholesterol. Bile is reabsorbed in direct proportion to the amount of time it takes to pass from the digestive tract. Where there is slow transit time through the digestive tract (constipation), there is excessive reabsorption of bile, as well as the toxins in the bile. This will decrease the ability of the liver to function properly.
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