Oh, the joys of menopause…
From the night sweats that leave your sheets soaked… to the insomnia that keeps you drowsy all day… to the mood swings that cause your family to walk on eggshells around you… and, of course, the metabolism slowdown that makes your clothes fit like sausage casing… women get to experience it all!
And now, according to a recent study, there’s a new menopause-related issue to worry about… and this one makes all those symptoms above seem like a walk in the park…
A new review article from the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) has found that after menopause, women have a high risk of developing liver disease.
NAFLD, liver damage and death
The research found that postmenopausal women are at a much higher risk than during their pre-menopause years for developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a chronic condition caused by the build-up of excess fat in the liver not caused by alcohol.
If you haven’t heard of it before, NAFLD is hands-down the most common cause of liver damage.
It can even progress to cirrhosis and lead to death! It’s one of the leading causes behind liver transplants.
The review looked at more than 60 epidemiological, clinical and experimental studies and found that it is likely that the loss of protection conferred by estrogens, combined with other factors, underlie the increased NAFLD risk in post-menopausal women.
Put simply, before menopause the estrogen circulating in your body actually helps keep fat from building in your liver. But with the decline of the hormone as you age, your risk goes up substantially.
Fatty liver progression
To top it off, the research also showed that the death rate among women with NAFLD is on the rise, with more and more dying from cirrhosis each year.
Dr. Johanna DiStefano, a Professor and head of TGen’s Diabetes and Fibrotic Disease Unit and the study’s senior author, says this suggests that many women have NASH (a more dangerous condition with both inflammation and liver cell damage) rather than just NAFLD.
But, there is still hope for women who want to avoid liver disease…
The review also found that women who maintained a normal weight and lipid, glucose and insulin levels within normal ranges were at low risk for developing NAFLD, despite their postmenopausal status.
In other words, caring for your overall health can help combat the issues caused by hormonal changes as you age.
The next time your doctor orders a routine blood screen, ask for a liver enzyme test. Elevated levels are often the first sign that something’s wrong in this critical organ.
And there’s more good news!
In addition to watching your weight and keeping your blood sugar and cholesterol levels under control to protect your liver, you can also support this vital organ with supplements that have been studied for years for their proven liver benefits:
- N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) — A potent amino acid that supports your liver’s natural detoxification of tobacco, carbon monoxide-rich smoke, alcohol and the air pollutants you’re exposed to daily.
- Milk Thistle — An ancient liver-booster that promotes the elimination of heavy metal build-up, medication residue, environmental pollutants and alcohol that can accumulate in and damage your liver.
- Turmeric — A 4,000-year-old Indian herb known for protecting your liver from oxidative stress and promoting healthy function.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) — A powerhouse antioxidant that keeps your liver running strong to help ward off the accumulation of the fats that lead to fatty liver disease.
While menopause is inevitable, fatty liver disease is not. Take steps to protect your health and your liver from the fat buildup that can damage its cells and lead to cirrhosis and death.