Do you feel toxic? Poor thyroid function may be choking your liver
There is clear scientific evidence that hypothyroidism can alter the liver’s detoxification pathways and bile drainage, leading to increased liver enzymes (SGOT/SGPT).(1) Elevations in liver enzymes are not are commonly seen, but poor hepatic clearance leading to “toxicity feeling” is common. seen in my practice.
The liver is our main detoxification organ. There is a two-step process by which detoxification occurs: Phase I and Phase II. Low thyroid function can substantially decrease the liver’s ability to function in both Phase I and Phase II.
Symptoms of Toxicity:
- Bitter and metallic taste.
- brain fog
- circles under the eyes
- Digestive problems
- Excessive mucus production
- gas, bloating
- Headaches or migraines
- Joint and muscle pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- poor focus
- Ringing in the ears
- Skin rash
- Strong body odor or bad breath
- weight gain
Health problems related to toxicity:
- chronic fatigue
- leaky gut
- Multiple chemical sensitivity
How is the body detoxified?
A good 80% of detoxification is done by the liver. Many chemicals and toxins are fat soluble, so they must go through a detoxification process to make them water soluble so they can be excreted by the body through the kidneys, lungs, skin, etc. Phase I is the first process and actually makes most chemicals more toxic while creating free radicals. The next step, Phase II, is critical so that these highly toxic chemical intermediates can be conjugated (bind and packaged) to eliminate them from the body.
If Phase I is too rapid, Phase II may not be able to keep up with the demand, and excess toxins may re-enter the circulation and cause symptoms. If Phase I is too slow, we will continue to have various chemicals/toxins circulating and causing the symptoms mentioned above. Hypothyroidism is known to slow down Phase I, but it can also slow down Phase II processes.
Certain foods can enhance detoxification: sulfur-containing foods (cruciferous vegetables, onions, garlic, eggs); vitamins B6 (avocado); zine (seafood); and proteins (meat and vegetables).
The detoxification process is a high-energy affair that requires ample supplies of all the necessary nutrients and vast amounts of energy to process the endless toxic load that comes out each day.
Addressing the health of liver detoxification is an important part of our thyroid program. The liver is also responsible for converting ~60% of T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (active thyroid hormone). If the liver is compromised or overburdened by poor detoxification ability, that can also make it difficult to manage thyroid hormone conversion.
Liver health is a critical player in how we feel. It plays a key role in the 10 steps of thyroid metabolism and should not be overlooked when helping thyroid patients.
1. Saha B and Maity C. Serum enzyme alternation in primary hypothyroidism. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2002;40:609-611.