The Liver And Weight Loss
Dr Sandra Cabot talks with naturopath Victoria Taylor about the liver and how it can impede your weight loss journey if it’s not functioning efficiently. Dr Cabot has always been fascinated by the liver and its effect on our overall health, hence why she is often referred to as the “Liver Doctor”. In this podcast, you will learn about the important functions of the liver, issues you may have when your liver is fatty, how the liver has a tremendous influence over the metabolic rate and what you can do to make your liver healthy.
Listen to this podcast and leave a comment below if you have any questions.
DR CABOT: Hello. My name’s Dr Sandra Cabot. I’m talking to you today about the liver and weight loss. And I’m joined by naturopath Victoria Taylor.
VICTORIA: Good afternoon, Dr Cabot.
DR CABOT: So, it really is an interesting subject. The liver and weight loss. And indeed, I had a pharmacist the other day who’s doing well on our Weight Loss Detective program. And she said to me, “You know, Dr Cabot, I didn’t lose weight even on the HCG diet” – you know, the famous HCG diet – “until I fixed my liver.”
VICTORIA: Wow! Okay. I hope that we do discuss that with our HCG patients.
DR CABOT: Yeah, they don’t lose enough weight. They hit a plateau. And that’s frustrating because the HCG diet is a very low-calorie diet, 500 calories a day, and it’s only for 3 weeks. And everyone loses weight on it. But what I find is that when people hit a weight loss plateau and they’re doing all the right things, but it’s not working; they’re not losing weight, always think about the liver. It’s usually the liver that’s the problem. You’ve got to improve the liver function because the healthy liver is a fat-burning organ, and it also regulates fat metabolism. And it can pump excessive fat out of your body through the bile. If it’s not working properly, you will struggle a lot more with weight loss. It’ll be much harder and slower for you to lose the weight.
So, Victoria, tell us about the bile and how that helps weight loss.
VICTORIA: Well, bile is a wonderful, wonderful substance made by the body. It’s produced in the liver and carries out our metabolites through the digestive tract to be excreted. But it also helps the absorption of good dietary fats and fat-soluble vitamins.
Now, when you have a fatty liver it’s very, very difficult to actually get a sufficient supply of bile for the gallbladder to concentrate for this work that it’s got to do. And so, then what happens, when there’s not enough bile? The bile that is going through the digestive tract has a second or a third on its way out to be excreted. It actually is a disinfectant in the large bowel, so that the microbiome is kept in check and you don’t get the overgrowth of bad bugs. So, if you’ve got fatty liver and bile production is reduced, you don’t get this disinfection happening…
DR CABOT: In the colon.
VICTORIA: …in the colon. And so, you can get dysbiosis and you can get sugar-demanding bugs growing that are insisting and talk to the brain saying, “Feed me, feed me, feed me.” And then you get this overwhelming sensation that you’ve got to eat more sugar. And it’s just a downward spiral because the more sugar, the more fatty liver, the less bile. Less bile but more bad bugs. And so…
DR CABOT: Yeah, it’s very interesting, isn’t it? That how bile, it doesn’t just help us digest fat. But it actually disinfects the bowel and is conducive to a healthy gut microbiome.
VICTORIA: It’s so important!
DR CABOT: Yeah. And so, you’ve got to get the liver producing healthy bile. So, a good liver formula like the LivaTone Plus. And if you’ve lost your gallbladder, then you may need to take Ox Bile in the middle of the meal.
VICTORIA: But it’s also good while you’ve got the fatty liver to actually take the Ox Bile to increase the amount of concentrated ox bile going through the liver. So that, whether you’ve got a gallbladder or not, just so that you can get that fat digesting and removed from the liver more quickly. And that then you can be assured that you’ve got sufficient for the disinfection, so you can quieten those…
DR CABOT: Those bugs that want to be fed.
VICTORIA: Well, the bug-derived sugar cravings.
DR CABOT: That’s a good term!
VICTORIA: I don’t suggest people have got a weak willpower. They’ve got hitchhikers that are making such demands.
DR CABOT: Yes, they want to be feed a lot. Yeah, that’s right. Your bugs could be addicted to carbohydrate, and it’s not you.
DR CABOT: That’s for sure! And, of course, the Ox Bile capsules increase the amount of bile in your gut and that helps your microbiome.
So, the liver is so important. And a lot of people who are overweight have a fatty liver and they have a roll of fat around the upper abdomen and they feel very, very sluggish. And then they get the high cholesterol and cellulite. It’s all to do with the fact that your fatty liver is not regulating fat metabolism. So, you’ve got to give it some things to help repair it, like the LivaTone Plus or the N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine, which is wonderful for detoxing the liver. And perhaps you need some Ox Bile, particularly if you’ve got indigestion or you’ve lost your gallbladder.
VICTORIA: The other thing that must be remembered with when correcting a fatty liver is do not trust blood tests. Because once you have stopped laying down the fat in your fatty liver, your liver enzymes will return to normal.
DR CABOT: It can be normal, in fatty liver.
VICTORIA: It can be normal, but the fat can be there. I had one patient whose liver enzymes had been fine. She had other health issues, but her liver enzymes are being fine for the last ten years. I said, ”Go and get an abdominal ultrasound and she came back. And her regular doctors was also amazed because she had fatty liver disease.
DR CABOT: Yeah. You can have severe fatty liver with so-called normal blood tests for liver function.
VICTORIA: Yes. So, insist on an abdominal ultrasound, which will also look at the health of, as well as your liver, your gallbladder – if you still got one – kidneys, pancreas and your spleen.
DR CABOT: That’s right!
VICTORIA: Because they can be worse things than a fatty liver. A fatty pancreas is really, really, really dangerous and has to be reversed as quick as possible.
DR CABOT: Yeah because it can lead to diabetes and…
VICTORIA: It can lead to pancreatitis. And people die of pancreatitis.
DR CABOT: Yes. And you’d rather be dead when you experience the pain.
VICTORIA: Exactly right!
DR CABOT: It’s terrible.
So, the good news is you can reverse the fatty liver and you can reverse the fatty pancreas. It’s not rocket science. You just have to understand physiology.
And the other important thing about the liver and weight loss is the liver influences tremendously the hormones in your body that control your metabolic rate. And so, we make hunger hormones, leptin and insulin. And the liver has a lot to do with regulating those.
But probably the most important hormone in which the liver is involved is thyroid hormone. Now, your thyroid gland is in your neck. It’s a long way from your liver. But your thyroid gland produces predominantly a type of thyroid hormone called T4, because it’s got four molecules of iodine and that is secreted into the bloodstream, travels to the liver for a very good reason. Because the liver has to turn it into the active form of thyroid hormone, which has only got three molecules of iodine. And that’s called T3. And that’s ten times more active than the T4. And that means it’s going to stimulate your metabolism, get your mitochondria going in the Krebs cycle to burn the fat and to turn the sugar into energy, instead of fat. So, you need a healthy thyroid. But to have a healthy thyroid, you need a healthy liver. And to have a healthy liver, you need a healthy thyroid. So, we always have to consider both parts of the anatomy – the thyroid and the liver. And what we often find is that we improve the liver function, the thyroid function improves. And indeed, there’s been some really good conventional clinical studies done that show that in people with very mild low-thyroid condition, what we call subclinical words, on the borderline. So, we call it low subclinical thyroid. That if we give those patients something to help their thyroid, we fix their fatty liver. And so, some doctors actually giving low-dose thyroid hormone to help people reverse a fatty liver. That’s how important the effect of the thyroid is.
VICTORIA: So, people can actually take our Thyroid Health capsules, and that will help their fatty liver.
DR CABOT: Definitely! Because a lot of cases of low thyroid that are just mild low thyroid, are due to the fact that the person is low in iodine, low in selenium, low in vitamin D and low in zinc. And those deficiencies are very common even in people who are overweight and eat too much; predominantly carbohydrate, because those foods don’t contain those essential nutrients. And the soils are often depleted. So, sometimes just taking a Thyroid Health capsule will really help your fatty liver. If your thyroid is a little bit more underactive, you may need low-dose thyroid hormone, as well.
And so, the message is that fatty liver is the most common reason why people can’t lose weight. And yet, sometimes we can’t help them unless we help their thyroid. And that’s going to help the fatty liver. And then the fatty liver will improve its conversion of thyroid hormone into an active form.
So, the liver and the thyroid are like an old married couple. They’re co-dependent. They need each other.
VICTORIA: They need each other to work well.
DR CABOT: It’s not romantic. It’s practical.
DR CABOT: You gotta laugh at these things. You really do.
VICTORIA: It’d be too serious to not laugh.
DR CABOT: But the thing is, people struggle. They hit this weight loss plateau and they go, “It’s not my fault! I give up!” It’s usually the liver. Like, this pharmacist said to me, “The HCG”, which is an extreme diet, “even that didn’t work!”
VICTORIA: But we’ve also had a situation where people go to their doctor and they’ve got diabetes. They’ve got high blood pressure. They’re shown then they have fatty liver, often just by blood tests. And the doctor says, “Lose weight!”
DR CABOT: Yeah!
VICTORIA: But doesn’t give them… That’s the whole strategy that the doctor’s got. And then the person has to go away, and they’re well behind the eight ball simply because they’ve got the fatty liver. They’ve probably got an underactive thyroid. And they’ve tried so many diets in the past that haven’t worked. And the doctors really are not guiding them very well at all.
DR CABOT: No. Well, the doctors aren’t probably educated.
VICTORIA: Well, they’re not.
DR CABOT: It’s not the doctor’s fault. I mean, you can’t really help people unless you use integrative medicine.
VICTORIA: Ok, well that’s so recent…
DR CABOT: Well, a lot of doctors aren’t trained in that. But thankfully, we’ve got the Weight Loss Detectives, and we look deeper and we can understand when you hit a plateau. Or why you even got so overweight in the first place. It wasn’t just because the amount you were eating. It was because your liver was unhealthy. Your thyroid was sluggish. You were deficient in mineral. We rarely needed to focus on your liver and your thyroid. And maybe you weren’t even eating too much. Probably too much carbohydrates, but not enough protein, not enough vegetables. Everybody’s different. And so, we can help you pinpoint the reasons that stop you from being successful. So never give up!
VICTORIA: No! So, our Weight Loss Detective is actually going to help people with fatty liver. Woohoo!
DR CABOT: Definitely!
Okay. Well, there you go. The liver and weight loss – a fascinating subject. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. Thank you, Victoria.
VICTORIA: Thank you very much for your attention, everybody. It’s been delightful.
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