Heather was once a vibrant young woman who came to me years ago, in her own words, in a state of “exhaustion”. What was going on? Heather was distraught, her marriage was in trouble and if the situation did not improve, her business would soon be running at a loss. Heather is not alone in her confusion as to where she has found herself at this crossroads in life.
To anyone going through the menopause the symptoms can be simply soul destroying. Heather was once a vibrant young woman who came to me years ago, in her own words, in a state of “exhaustion”. What was going on? Heather was distraught, her marriage was in trouble and if the situation did not improve, her business would soon be running at a loss. Heather is not alone in her confusion as to where she has found herself at this crossroads in life.
Not a day goes by where we are not reminded by the media that life begins at 50 and look at all these wonderful women and how wonderful they look. Yet so many women are not feeling the love. Many women are feeling the change happening and it is leaving them depressed, anxious and irritable. Night sweats and palpitations keeping them awake at night and waking the next day with bags under the eyes so dark not even the best concealer is able to do its job properly.
IT ALL STARTS WITH THE LIVER
There is much talk about detox and why we should be doing a detox but do we really understand why there is a need for us to detox. In this blog I am going to explain why dysfunction occurs when the liver is overloaded or imbalanced. I will show you the association between the body’s ability to adequately detoxify toxins that enter the body on a daily basis (as well as created by the body) and symptoms of menopause and what you can do to decrease the severity of your symptoms.
When the liver is doing its job of detoxification it is converting harmful toxins into substances that can be safely eliminated from the body.
Toxins that find their way into our body are referred to as xenobiotics. Xenobiotics include cosmetics, drugs, pesticides, food additives, petrol fumes, the list is endless. The body also produces its own metabolites that need to be processed by the liver. In this blog these metabolites I will be referring to are oestrogen and progesterone.
It is the job of the liver to convert these toxins into less harmful metabolites.
The two principal sites of xenobiotic detoxification are the intestinal mucosa and the liver. I am only going to discuss the liver pathway in this blog.
Most xenobiotics are fat soluble and unfortunately the body loves keeping these locked away inside your fat cells. This is the body’s way of protecting you from the harmful effects of the xenobiotics is they were to stay circulating in the body. This is why many people find it hard to lose weight. The secret is to stop the body from storing the xenobiotics in the first place and this is why it is so important that the liver is doing its job to its optimum level.
The liver detoxification process works in two major phases. I will not go into the steps in this blog but basically the liver is converting fat soluble xenobiotics into water soluble metabolites which are then more easily eliminated from the body via the urine (and via the lungs).
Another important function of the liver is bile secretion. The bile acts as a carrier medium for elimination of toxins from the body.
If the liver is not working properly it will be sluggish, toxins will build up causing inflammation and oxidative stress. Toxins then end up being re-circulated and eventually stored in fatty tissues, where a constant release of toxins occurs with symptoms commonly seen in menopause.
Anything that interferes with the detoxification process will also result in oestrogen dominance. When it is not broken down properly, higher levels of oestrogen build up. The liver’s capacity to cleanse the blood of oestrogen is evoked by alcohol, drugs or environmental toxins.
RECOMMENDED FOODS TO ASSIST WITH MAINTAINING A HEALTHY LIVER
Julie Dargan RN, ND, BHSc