Why is the liver so important in hormone balancing?

Liver Detoxification is a Full-Time Job For Your Body

The Liver – Our hormone processor

The liver plays a vital role in the body’s use of hormones, both those that are produced naturally in our bodies as well as those hormones that are “introduced” via hormone therapies.

It acts as a hormone processor, manufacturing and/or regulating some hormone levels, and directing various hormones to perform their proper function in other parts of the body. But when the body experiences a hormone excess (whether produced by the body or introduced by hormone therapy) the liver may not be able to process the hormone(s) as quickly or efficiently, causing a hormone imbalance (estrogen dominance).


How estrogen is broken down in the liver

Of concern for women’s health is the liver’s role in regulating the sex hormones, primarilty the estrogen hormones. This is a consideration for women undergoing hormone therapy, whether it is conventionaly hormone therapy (HRT), typically consisting of synthetic hormones that are not biologically identical to human hormones, or bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).

Researchers are gaining new insight into how estrogens are metabolised and the effects of that metabolism. They found that estrogens break down into estrogen metabolites that have varying levels of estrogenic activity, and that the stronger the estrogenic effect, the greater the risk of developing estrogen-related cancer.


“Bad” estrogen and estrogen toxity

The process of accumulating “bad” estrogen in the liver and in fat cells is part of aging.

What is a “bad” estrogen? It’s too much of the wrong types of estrogen in the wrong places. By definition, bad estrogens are nonmethylated estrogens (estrogens that are missing a methyl group).

Estrogen toxicity builds up over time as the body loses metabolic power and begins developing methylation problems (the inability to attach methyl groups to toxins). On top of this, the body eventually loses with age the capability to control aromatization, which is conversation of a good hormone into a bad hormone.

Due to aging, birth control pills, estrogen replacement therapy, poor nutrition, stress, xenoestrogenic pollution and/or lack of exercise, “bad” estrogen builds up along with the adrenal hormone cortisol and starts to swing the seesaw towards too much estrogenic metabolism and not enough androgenic metabolism. The latter is improved by building up testosterone (men), progesterone (women), DHEA, Vitamin D3, and thyroid hormone while simultaneously lowing cortisol and bad estrogen levels that are counterproductive to health.


Protecting our immune System

Although the immune system protects your body from many dangers, it is the liver that protects the immune system from overload. The simplest and most effective way to cleanse the blood stream and thus take the load off the immune system is by improving liver function.

Many inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, cardiovascular problems, headaches, chronic fatigue, and premature ageing can all be caused and aggravated by a buildup of toxins that the liver is unable to cope with.

Here are just some of the symptoms and conditions that can result from exposure to environmental toxins:

  • Headache
  • Coughing, wheezing and shortness of breathe
  • Eye, ear, nose or throat irritation
  • Chills or fever
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Nausea
  • Hair loss
  • Skin rash
  • Infertility in women and men
  • Liver disease
  • Neurological dysfunction, such as loss of memory or concentration, or confusion
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Depression
  • and cancer


More facts about our liver

The liver is the largest glandular organ in the body and performs multiple critical functions to keep the body pure of toxins and harmful substances.

An average adult liver weighs about three pounds. Located in the upper-right portion of the abdominal cavity under the diaphragm and to the right of the stomach, the liver consists of four lobes. It receives about 1.5 quarts of blood every minute via the hepatic artery and portal vein.

In addition to producing bile, the liver:

  • Detoxifies the blood to rid it of harmful substances such as alcohol and drugs
  • Stores some vitamins and iron
  • Stores the sugar glucose
  • Converts stored sugar to functional sugar when the body’s sugar (glucose) levels fall below normal
  • Breaks down hemoglobin as well as insulin and other hormones
  • Converts ammonia to urea, which is vital in metabolism
  • Destroys old red blood cells (old red blood cells produces waste that gives fecal matter its usual brown color)


What our liver needs to detoxify

Your body needs to detoxify substances from outside the body (exogenous) and those made inside the body (endogenous).

Common EXTERNAL sources that need to be detoxified:

  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides
  • Air pollutants
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • PCBs, phthalates, bisphenol-A

Common INTERNAL sources that need to be detoxified:

  • Toxins produced by intestinal microbes
  • Hormones
  • Bile acids
  • Metabolic intermediates


The liver performs two phases of detoxification

Phase One – Oxidation

In Phase One, the liver uses oxygen and enzymes to burn toxins. This process is called oxidation, and makes the toxins more soluble in water. Making them more water soluble is necessary so they can be more easily excreted from the body by the kidneys or the liver. Most environmental toxins are fat-soluble to start with, and therefore difficult or impossible to eliminate without the liver’s help.

A significant side effect of Phase One detoxification is the production of free radicals as the toxins are transformed. For each molecule of toxin metabolized by Phase One, one free radical molecule is generated. Without adequate free radical defenses, every time the liver neutralizes a toxin, it is damaged by the free radicals produced. Antioxidants, such as reduced glutathione, vitamins C and E, carotenoids, flavenoids and selenium reduce the damage caused by these free radicals. If antioxidants are deficient and toxin exposure is high, toxic chemicals become far more dangerous.

Although Phase One is crucial for detoxification, it poses risks. Sometimes the end product of Phase One detoxification is more dangerous than the compound being detoxified. You don’t want Phase One activity to exceed the ability of your liver’s Phase Two enzymes to finish the job, otherwise you’re in trouble.

One way of objectively determining a person’s Phase One activity level is to measure how efficiently his or her body detoxifies caffeine, while those with an overactive system will be relatively unaffected by caffeine.


Phase Two – Conjugation

Phase Two is the second stage in processing toxic compounds for elimination. This phase involves the addition of chemical groups (e.g., glutathione, glycine or taurine) to the toxic compound that make the it less toxic to body tissues and easier to excrete. During Phase II, the liver adds small chemical pieces onto the toxin in a process called conjugation – effectively wrapping it up safely. These conjugation reactions include sulphation, glucuronidation, and glutathione conjugation, which are key processes to healthy detoxification. Methylation, acetylation, and amino acid conjugation are the reactions used to prepare toxins for release into bile.

This phase of liver detoxification is inhibited by nutritional deficiency, toxic exposures, medications, alcohol consumption, and low protein intake that deplete glutathione.

For efficient Phase Two detoxification and production of bile, the liver cells require sulphur-containing amino acids such as taurine and cysteine, and several other nutrients as explained in more detail below. The right foods will provide these, so read on to find out how to support detoxification with foods, herbs and supplements.

If the Phase One and Two detoxification pathways become overloaded there will be a build up of toxins in the body. Many of these toxins are fat-soluble and incorporate themselves into fatty parts of the body where they may stay for years, if not for a lifetime. The brain and the endocrine (hormone) glands are fatty organs, and are common sites for fat soluble toxins to accumulate. This may result in symptoms of brain dysfunction and hormonal imbalances such as infertility, sterility, sexual dysfunction, breast pain, menstrual disturbances, adrenal gland exhaustion and early menopause.

The liver not only breaks down and eliminates toxins in the body, this process contribute to reducing estrogen dominance by assisting in the removal of excess hormones thus promoting hormone balance.



Accumulation of bad estrogens in the liver


The liver is the first place to focus as we begin the process of building up healthy hormones.

The accumulation of bad estrogens in the liver has been associated with a deficiency in methyl groups, aging, estrogen dominance, and a decrease in the body’s ability to detoxify carcinogens.

A methylator is a substance that is able to donate methyl groups.

Methylation is an essential cellular chemical process that assist with the proper function of DNA and RNA, glutathione development, and formation of neurotransmitters (dopamine, seratonin, GABA, etc.), and especially detoxification.

The liver uses methyl groups by attaching them to toxins as part of the Phase One detoxification mechanisms. Once a methyl group attaches to a toxin, such as a bad estrogen molecule, the liver than deal with the toxin and move it down the pathway for elimination.

Methyl groups consist of one carbon and three hydrogen atoms, and they are more abundant in fresh food and deficient in cooked food.

Certain foods and supplements are considered good methylators as they are able to donate significantly more methyl groups. Here’s a listing below:

  • Choline (found mostly in (raw) egg yolks
  • Beet roots, beet root juice and Goji berries (best natural source of betaine – TMG)
  • Methyl-cobalamin B12
  • MSM (methyl-sulfonyl-methane)
  • SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine)
  • Vitamins B6 & B9


Taking hormones by mouth can further burden the liver

Hormones taken orally in pill form enter the bloodstream from the small intestine, and go directly to the liver. Because the liver is not accustomed to receiving large amounts of hormones, it begins to break them down, leaving only a small percentage of the ingested hormone available to cells. This is called first pass loss (or first-pass metabolism) through the liver.

By comparison, transdermally delivered hormones (through the skin) like natural progesterone are up to 80% more bioavailable than equivalent doses administered orally. This has been proven by salivary hormone testing. In other words, oral delivery systems provide only a fraction of biological activity in comparison to the same dosage of steroid hormones administered from a transdermal delivery system.

The effective transdermal application of steroidal hormones like progesterone, testosterone or estrogen is possible because these prerequisites are all met:

  • These steroidal hormones are small, fat-soluble molecules that are easily absorbed across the skin where they can be stored in the fat tissues.
  • The hormones can reach a saturation level that is sufficiently high so that the fatty tissue diffuses them into the capillaries for uptake by the general blood circulation and transports them to the target tissues.
  • During the transdermal delivery process, the skin does not inactivate these steroid hormones, nor does it produce harmful metabolites from them.

A study was conducted in 2009 by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society found that transdermal delivery of estrogen therapy “seems not to alter” the risk of venous thromboembolism, or blood clotting, in postmenopausal patients when compared to oral delivery. Women with borderline clotting issues showed “a significant acceleration” of clotting after oral estrogen therapy, but no significant change after transdermal estrogen therapy.

Oral pharmaceuticals can be harmful to the liver and gall bladder. Oral administration is outmoded. Plant-derived creams fit better in the body’s receptors. I prefer transdermal delivery systems – it’s safer and more natural. Dr Martha Howard


Fatty / dysfunctional liver

A variety of medications can cause organ damage, and anyone who has a history of liver disease should check carefully with their doctor before starting new medications. Steroid-based medications can result in hepatitis-like side effects, as can oral contraceptives, antibiotics, analgesics, and any medication designed to alter liver function.

Many women with a fatty / dysfunctional liver often cannot cope with potent doses of oral hormone replacement therapy as it overloads the workload of the liver. And this can actually aggravate weight problems and obesity. These women tend do quite well using bioidentical hormones applied transdermally (rubbed into the skin).


“Bad” estrogen removers

Based on our current understanding, some phyto (plant) estrogens may damage hormone health, some may be neutral, and others may improve hormone health. If you are already experiencing estrogen dominance, you may want to avoid certain phytoestrogen plants such as soy isoflavones that could make the problem worse.

Best selling author and Wellness Guru David “Advocado” Wolfe provides the following guidelines taken from his brilliant publication Longevity Now: A Comprehensive Approach to Healthy Hormones, Detoxification, Super Immunity, Reversing Calcification, and Total Rejuvenation which I highly recommend:

  • Berries
  • Button Mushrooms
  • Calcium D-glucarate
  • Citrus essential oil
  • Citrus peel (lemon, lime, kumquat)
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Defatted flax
  • DIM (diindolylmethane) should be taken with I3C
  • I3C (indole-3-carbinol) should be taken with DIM
  • Ellagic acid (SERM)
  • Iodine (nascent)
  • Lignan-rich foods and herbs (flaxseed, sesame seeds, berries and vegetables (broccoli and kale) and green tea
  • Melatonin
  • Raw carrots


What do the experts say?

Liver detoxing via colon cleansing using coffee enemas

We believe the liver is over-taxed … we believe that you must nourish, rejuvenate the liver … make the job of the liver less. Dr George Yu

In October 2015, I interviewed the esteemed Dr George Yu. Dr Yu has been practicing medicine and surgery for 35 years in the institutional and private sectors. He is senior physician at Aegis Medical & Research Associates in Annapolis, Maryland, and Clinical Professor of Urological Surgery at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Presently he practices medicine focusing on sex hormone endocrinology, nutrition and digestion, and preventative medicine.

In our conversation, Dr Yu touched on the importance of looking after our liver. Click HERE to listen to a 7 minute except of my podcast with Dr Yu.

Of particular interest to me was George’s reference to liver detoxing using coffee enemas.

I decided to dig deeper into the pros and cons. I learned coffee enemas are a powerful liver detoxification tool, a pain relieving therapy, and a therapy for cleansing and healing the colon.

Retention coffee enemas are a key part of successful alternative cancer treatment protocols, because they rid the body of toxins that cause cancer and eliminate the toxins released by dead and dying cancer cells. Coffee enemas do all this and more without side effects and at minimal cost.

Conventional physicians once used coffee enemas as a routine part of patient care. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, which is a compendium of conventional medical treatments, provided information about the use of coffee enemas for at least 60 years through the 12th edition published in 1972. The official explanation given by the editors of the Merck Manual for dropping the therapy from their books is that they no longer had space for it. It’s a stretch, don’t you think, that coffee enema therapy has passively fallen from the reference books for lack of space.


Hepatic (Liver) Portal Vein System

hepatic portal system, coffee enema and hormone balancing

The coffee enema utilizes the pathway in the body that drives it directly to the liver. This is the hepatic (liver) portal vein system.

The hepatic portal vein is not a true vein, because it conducts blood to capillary beds in the liver and not directly to the heart.

Here’s what happens when you implant the coffee through the rectum into the sigmoid colon (lowest part of the large intestine):

The bowel is porous and is designed to absorb liquid. The active elements of the coffee enema will be absorbed very quickly and easily into the mass concentration of veins in the rectal area (the hemorrhoidal veins). These veins lead into the portal system.

Through the portal vein, the therapeutic nutriceuticals in the coffee enema, such as palmitic acid (kahweol and cafestol palmitate) and caffeine go directly to your liver. There, they enhance the production and activity of glutathione s-transferase enzyme, a very powerful free radical fighter.

The glutathione s-transferase enzyme system captures free radicals and toxins, throwing them to the glutathione in the liver. The glutathione captures the free radicals and toxins and safely escorts them on to one of the pathways leading out of the body.
This then stimulates the bile canaliculi (bile receptors found in the liver) to open and release the bile into the network of pathways leading to the common bile duct and gall bladder for storage or directly into the duodenum.

Palmitic acids and other compounds stimulate the liver and gallbladder to discharge bile into the duodenum, carrying along with it, toxins that are securely bound to glutathione, for safe elimination.

The coffee itself does not travel to the liver through the portal system. Only the palmitic acid and other compounds that are extracted through the colon wall into the veins surrounding it, are carried to the liver. For this reason, most people who are intolerant of coffee taken as a drink have no problem with coffee enemas. The coffee itself remains in the sigmoid colon (last part of the large intestine before the rectum), until it is eliminated.

Once the blood is detoxified by the liver, the hepatic veins drain it into the inferior vena cava that leads to the heart.

It is by the route described above that a coffee cleanse enema powerfully detoxifies the whole bloodstream. Because coffee enema increases your body’s production of glutathione s-transferase by 700%, it is amazingly effective at quenching free radicals as well as cleansing all manner of toxic elements out of the body.

The newly purified blood now has the capacity to carry deeper layers of toxins out of the cells. In a relatively short time, regular use of coffee cleanse frees the body of deeply sequestered toxins that may never have been removed otherwise.

Every 3 minutes, all the blood in the body passes through the liver. This process leaves the blood clean and less toxic. Typically a 15 minute enema is ideal, in which time blood passes through the liver 5 times. It goes without saying the longer you can retain the coffee enema, the greater the benefit.


Here are 10 reasons on why you should try a coffee enema:

  • Reduces levels of toxicity by up to 700%.
  • Cleans and heals the colon, improving peristalis.
  • Increases energy levels, improves mental clarity and mood.
  • Helps with depression, bad moods, sluggishness.
  • Helps eliminate parasites and candida.
  • Improves digestion, bile flow, eases bloating.
  • Detoxifies the liver and helps repair the liver.
  • Can help heal chronic health conditions (along with following a mainly raw plant based diet).
  • Helps ease “die-off” or detox reactions during periods of fasting or juice fasting, cleansing or healing.
  • Used regularly in the Gerson Institute treatment protocol for healing cancer patients naturally.


Some stuff to be aware of …

If you’re sensitive to caffeine, it won’t affect you taking your coffee this way.

Decaf coffee WILL NOT confer benefits as outlined in this article.

Just so you know, by drinking your coffee orally, its goes through your digestive system and stomach acids, which nullify any benefits you’d get (if you took your coffee via the portal vein to the liver).

Now I’m not going to attempt to collate the masses of data when it’s been beautifully distilled in this well researched and cited article titled ‘The Powerful Health Benefits of Coffee Enema Therapy that Big Pharma Does Not Want you to Know‘.


Walking the Talk!

Based on the treasure of information I trawled through, including digging up an article I published on this site back in 2007 featuring breast cancer ‘warrior’ Alyssa Burns-Hill, I decided I knew enough to give it a go.

I purchased my premium Coffee Enema Bag Kitliver detox using coffee enema made from pure medical-grade silicone that is free from BPA, pthalates, plastic, rubber, solvents, glues, vinyl and latex (you don’t want your kit to transfer toxic chemicals!). I found it very easy to clean, disinfect and best of all I can reuse for years. Ideal for home or professional use.

Also available is a Coffee Enema Bucket Kit. For some, this may be easier to pour the coffee into and easier clean than an enema bag. But since I can’t flat pack into my suitcase when travelling the enema BAG gets my vote.

Days later I was right into my morning coffee enema (sometimes one in the evening if I felt I needed it!).

Since eliminating toxins in the liver is the end game here, it’s vitally important you use a speciality made high grade certified Organic Coffee free of toxic substances (including mould) blended with pure filtered / spring water.

How you brew your organic coffee is up to you. For me, it was convenient to brew in a Coffee Plunger, and filter out any residue using Unbleached Natural Filter Paper.

I have to say, I’m hooked! For the past three months, I’ve made time to fit in a daily enema (and peacefully meditate while I’m at it). Morning is always best, but not always possible. If timed correctly, a coffee enema does not appear to interfer with a normal morning bowel movement.

Based on a newfound physical “glow” she saw in her mum and dad, my 30 year old daughter invested in her own kit. She shared with me how her daily morning enemas have helped to relieve symptoms of persistent Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in a major way.

I’m also a Magic Bullet fan (of some years now), so I generally follow my morning enema with a raw superfood juice to kick start my day.

I’ve found there will be days when I’ll struggle to retain the enema and other days I can lie there for 30 minutes without discomfort. So I’ve adopted the approach that if it becomes very uncomfortable and painful, then I will end the process sooner. No need to torture myself when I can repeat the process again later.

Colon cleansing / detoxing is not for everyone. That said, if you ARE experiencing hormonal imbalance or suspect a sluggish/overworked liver, consider the risks and benefits and progress from there. Get under the care of a skilled healthcare professional if you have any doubts or concerns.

Click HERE for general information about how to do a Retention Coffee Enema

I hope this article has been helpful to you. And as always, if you have any questions, I’m here to offer my support and guidance.


Catherine P Rollins, Founder & CEO

In love & appreciation,

Catherine P. Rollins

Founder & CEO

Ethically Supporting Women’s Choice of BHRT Since 2001