Elevated Estrogen Can Cause Liver Disease

Posted on May 15th, 2014

The liver is a large, vital organ that is present in the upper quadrant of the abdomen in both you and your pet. The function of the liver revolves around the cells that make up its mass, called hepatocytes.

Theses hepatocytes assist in synthesizing various molecules in the body, from one molecule type to another, with the sole purpose of maintaining normal homeostasis and regulating energy imbalances.

The various types of substances the hepatocytes are involved with in the body are as follows:


The hepatocytes help maintain blood sugar levels and when excessive amounts of blood glucose is present, the hepatocytes store this excessive glucose in the liver in a form called glycogen.

When the liver cannot convert the glycogen to glucose, low blood sugar may occur, causing the patient, whether human or animal, to become light headed, dizzy and possibly have seizures.  In humans this is called von Gierke’s disease.

I have noted a similar low blood sugar syndrome in many small dogs that weigh less than 12 lbs. My recommendation has always been to give at least one to two drops of honey or a comparable product in the dog’s food once daily and this seems to prevent the low blood sugar from happening.

When the glycogen storage is deficient in the liver, the hepatocytes mobilize other groups of enzymes to cause the synthesis of glucose from amino acids and non-hexose-carbohydrates.


The hepatocytes help process amino acids into glucose and lipids.

The hepatocytes also help the body excrete damaging ammonia by changing it into urea.

Ammonia production and lack of excretion has been noted in dogs and cats that have abnormal blood vessels that are involving the liver.

The hepatocytes help synthesize most of the plasma proteins that are necessary for blood clotting.


Alkaline phosphatase (ALK PHOS)
This is an enzyme that is found in many other organs of the body and not just the liver. It is important not to make a diagnosis of liver disease with only elevated alkaline phosphatase!

Albumin (ALB)
This is a protein produced by the liver in order to help maintain vascular pressure. If the albumin leaves the vascular system and enters the non-vascular tissue, swelling and edema may occur.

Alanine Aminotransferase (SGPT)
This protein is found mainly in the liver. When it is released into the bloodstream, it may suggest the presence of liver damage from infection, medication, obstruction, cirrhosis and other injuries to the liver.

Aspartate Aminotransferase (SGOT)
It is also mainly produced in the liver and when released into the bloodstream, it suggest the presence of acute liver damage, hepatitis, obstruction or cirrhosis. However, SGOT is also found in red blood cells, cardiac and skeletal muscles.

Total Bilirubin (TBIL)
Bilirubin is a normal component of red blood cells, and when it is released into the bloodstream, it is processed, broken down and excreted by the liver. If the liver is damaged, a bilirubin buildup can cause the body to become jaundiced including yellow skin, yellow sclera of the eyes and yellow urine.


Hepatocytes help the liver oxidize triglycerides and produce energy.

The majority of lipoproteins are synthesized in the liver.

The liver is the major site for converting excess carbohydrates and proteins into fatty acids and triglycerides.

This is probably why you have heard, if you eat or feed your pet too much protein, the liver will convert it into fat!

The liver has the ability to synthesize cholesterol and phospholipids which can be used by the body. This is probably the target for cholesterol lowering drugs, as long as they do not cause other problems for the liver, which many of them do!

The liver also has the ability to convert cholesterol into bile acids.

The human literature also mentions the fact that a cirrhosis of the liver can cause the adrenal hormone, called androgen, to convert into estrogen. In males, often the testosterone is low with cirrhosis of the liver, which also might indicate a conversion into estrogen.

Estrogen and liver disease will be discussed later in this article.

As you can see, liver disease can play a huge roll in many other diseases and it is important to identify the liver disease early in its development and early in its treatment.

You may want to Google all the reported liver diseases and discuss any liver problems with your physician or your veterinarian. But what is not usually recognized is the fact that total estrogen also plays a major role in liver disease.

Why is this so important?

It’s very important, because various forms of estrogen are being used to treat various other health issues, and can unknowingly compromise your liver and the liver of your pet.

Any estrogen supplement, whether for birth control or menopause, may have serious effects if you don’t know what level of estrogen you are producing.

Presently, only women are being tested for their three ovarian estrogens and not their total estrogen, which includes adrenal estrogen.

Men are only being tested for estradiol and not total estrogen.

Dr. Jack Oliver at the University of Tennessee veterinary endocrinology Department was testing only estradiol in dogs.

Unfortunately total estrogen is not usually measured in people and animals and this estrogenic liver involvement may go unrecognized.

For more information about total estrogen, please see the Hormones section of my website.

Regarding any liver disease for you or your pet, it’s important to measure total estrogen at the same time the liver disease is discovered, because if it is not and routine therapy is begun, including foods and supplements that contain natural estrogens (phytoestrogens), the liver disease may become worse.

Please read in the Foods and Supplement section, the article “Natural Estrogens that Occur in Nutrients”.  These foods need to be avoided if you or your pet have elevated estrogen that is causing not only liver disease, but many other chronic, catastrophic diseases like allergies, autoimmunity’s and cancer.

Even innocent plants like milk thistle, which is also the main ingredient in the manufactured product called Denamarin, is commonly used to help liver diseases. However, if the patient has elevated estrogen, the natural estrogen found in this plant will only cause further problems.

I have been actively involved in the diagnosis and treatment of another autoimmune disease referred to as SARDS, Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome. This unfortunately is an autoimmune disease that leads to blindness, which is caused from an elevated total estrogen.

This elevated estrogen comes from the inner layer adrenal gland due to the fact  the middle layer adrenal cortex is producing a deficient or defective cortisol.

A major portion of the treatment for a SARDS patient is the use of a synthetic replacement for the imbalanced cortisol.

The general public and most of the veterinary profession are concerned with the use of any cortisol therapy, which I can understand. However in the case of a SARDS patient, the cortisol is defective and needs to be replaced in order to reduce the damaging estrogen and allow the immune cell to recognize the retinal tissue they have been attacking.

Unfortunately this is usually not recognized and with the worry about the cortisol damaging the liver, often milk thistle or Denamarin is prescribed. This further elevates the already elevated estrogen and can stop the eyesight from returning in a SARDS patient. Even if some sight does return for a while with proper hormone therapy, using milk thistle or any other food or supplements that contain phytoestrogens, will cause the sighted dog to lose their sight once again and probably lose their sight permanently.

In an article by Dr. Jack Oliver, who was the Director of Endocrinology Science at the University of Tennessee, School of Veterinary Medicine, he reported the effects of estradiol on the liver in over 2,000 patients.

Quoting Dr. Oliver,

"The dogs with hyperestrinism typically present with some of the following signs: Cushingnoid appearance, presence of chronically elevated levels (usually extremely elevated) of serum alkaline phosphatase, hepatomegaly, steroid hepatopathy on biopsy, PU/PD, dilute urine, panting, hair coat problems and skin biopsies that indicate the presence of an endocrinopathy."

Dr. Oliver also noted that all the signs that too much cortisol was produced, created the same signs when too much estrogen was produced!

Dr. Oliver further noted the detrimental effects that estrogen has on the liver.

Now you can see why it is so important to measure total estrogen, because it often is the culprit that is causing the disease and not the cortisol replacement.

Hopefully this article will help you better understand diseases of the liver and also indicate to you that measuring total estrogen in you and your pet may be worthwhile to do.