Congested Liver? Low Thyroid? How Xenoestrogens Affect Us All

Last week we talked about how seasonal allergies can put a load on the liver, and in turn how a congested liver can worsen allergies, particularly when the wrong gut bacteria and/or constipation are present. [How to Tolerate Smoke + Pollens + Seasonal Allergies

An Over-Burdened Liver Cannot Effectively Metabolize Estrogens

Yet you may be interested to know that such liver congestion can also impair how it is processing hormones bound for elimination, like estrogen. This can result in elevated estrogen levels. [1]
Add to this effect xenoestrogens in the environment that we are all exposed to, such as BPA/bisphenols, PCB's, perchlorates (used in dry-cleaning), plastics, herbicides, pesticides, etc., and we are all faced with the question of how to deal with an estrogen burden? Indeed endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC's) wreak havoc on our hormones, (especially kids). [2] [3] [4]


Just imagine for a second that you are living in 1923 North America. How many estrogens are you exposed to? Answer: those that your body is producing, and perhaps some plant influences, (i.e. phytoestrogens.)


Now fast forward 100 years, and consider all the endocrine disrupting chemicals we are exposed to! Is it any great mystery why hormonal difficulties such as infertility, low sperm counts, and erectile dysfunction are so rampant?

Excess Estrogen Affects Men & Women Differently

In women, an inability to process and eliminate excess estrogens can disrupt the necessary balance with progesterone, and lead to estrogen dominance. This can result in a host of problems with menstruation, PMS, PCOS, and all the symptoms of menopause. [5]  As always, balance is crucial.

In men, failure to adequately process estrogens and xenoestrogens can offset the effects of testosterone, leading to decreased muscle mass, strength, libido, mood, etc.

Estrogen Dominance & Thyroid Function

Further, in all of us, when our liver is overloaded, a build-up of estrogens can lead to decrease in thyroid hormone activity and may even result in autoimmune thyroid conditions like Hashimoto's. [6]

Why? Because elevated estrogens (especially the "wrong" estrogens) increase what's called Thyroid Binding Globulin, or TBG. [7] TBG is our body's transport protein for thyroid hormones, like T3 and T4. TBG is supposed to deliver the thyroid hormones to target tissues throughout the body.

Yet, if our levels of TBG are too high, thyroid hormone doesn't get delivered to the target tissues and activated. Rather, they simply remain inactive "in-transport". [8] And when your thyroid hormones are inactive, your metabolism drops, and your tendency to put on body fat increases.

A Vicious Cycle 

Body fat is not only estrogenic, it's inflammatory! [9] And what can inflammation do? Drop your metabolism even more by increasing insulin resistance and interfering with the mitochondria - your cellular furnaces. [10]

So, impaired thyroid function, increased body fat, and increased inflammation. Not only do all these effects beget even more body fat in a vicious cycle, they also make you tired, because you're producing less energy! This makes it harder to exercise! 

So, what can do you do about it? 

1. Support your liver to maintain its processing and transport of estrogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals.

This can be with substances like Milk Thistle, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Selenium, NAC and schizandra, all designed to increase the master liver detox molecule called glutathione.

2. Increase your friendly metabolism and clearance of estrogens (i.e. get them out of your body), with substances like DIM (diindolylmethane) and calcium D-Glucarate.... this is not just for women! 

This way, the build-up of estrogens (and xenoestrogens) is lessened, and Thyroid Binding Globulin does not increase and interfere with the action of your thyroid hormones, metabolism and energy. (In fact there's evidence that DIM is protective against thyroid proliferative diseases such as goiter and thyroid cancer.) [11]

DIM can also increase insulin sensitivity, thereby further decreasing the tendency to become inflamed, and gain body fat. [12] 

3. Include a good probiotic to help finish-off the elimination of estrogens out of your body.

This is because if unfriendly, dysbiotic bacteria are predominating in the gut, an enzyme called hyaluronidase can snip the bond between estrogen and glucuronate, and you just reabsorb it, instead of pooping it out. A good probiotic helps you finish the elimination job and avoid this. 

Excess Estrogens Can Affect Everyone

Once more this applies to all of us: Men, women, and others...particularly those supplementing sex hormones.

This is even true of testosterone, which is converted to estrogen through the enzyme aromatase. (Men, are you wondering why those testosterone shots don't seem to be working?)

Stay tuned for next week's article where we will look further into the issue of how to maintain your strength as your chronological age increases.

Until then, be well! 



[1] Estrogen Metabolism. Reference module in Biomedical Sciences 2015

[2] Biomedicines. 2020 Jun; 8(6): 137. Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Insulin Resistance in Children

[3]   Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(9), 4807; Role of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in the Pathogenesis of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Comprehensive Review 

[4] Rev Endocrinol. 2017 Aug; 13(8): 445–457.Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and fatty liver disease


[6] Wentz I and Nowosadzka M. Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause. Wentz LLC; First Edition (May 31,2013) ISBN-13 

[7]    J Thyroid Res. 2011; 2011: 875125. Role of Estrogen in Thyroid Function and Growth Regulation

[8]   Thyroid-Binding Globulin.    Benjamin Daniel Liess, MD; Chief Editor: Sridevi Devaraj, PhD, DABCC, FAACC, FRSC, CCRP 

[9] Circ. 2020 Jul-Sep; 10(3): 2045894020952019. Obesity, estrogens and adipose tissue dysfunction – implications for pulmonary arterial hypertension

[10] Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2020; 11: 568305.  Role of Mitochondria in the Redox Signaling Network and Its Outcomes in High Impact Inflammatory Syndromes

[11] Thyroid. 2011 Mar; 21(3): 299–304. 3,3′-Diindolylmethane Modulates Estrogen Metabolism in Patients with Thyroid Proliferative Disease: A Pilot Study

[12] Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 Jul;26(7):1153-1160.   3,3'-Diindolylmethane Enhances Glucose Uptake Through Activation of Insulin Signaling in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes





Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published