Do You Have A Fatty Liver?
Fat accumulation in the liver is the culprit behind fatty liver disease. It is normal for a healthy liver to contain some fat, and is considered fatty, if that level exceeds 10%. Do you have a fatty liver?
There are two types of fatty liver disease – alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The obvious cause of alcoholic fatty liver is excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol is very damaging to the liver, negatively affecting its function, and the break down of fats. Virtually 90-100 percent of alcoholics have a fatty liver. Fatty liver often resolves in a matter of weeks when alcohol consumption ceases. This is the good news. Now for the bad news. If alcohol use is continued, it can lead to cirrhosis – or scarring of the liver.
Today I am going to address the topic of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or (NAFLD).
This is a common condition, and may be the fastest growing medical condition in our society today. It is a chronic form of liver disease, affecting millions of people in every age group, but more, specifically, in those over 40. These people are already at an increased risk of heart disease due to obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Causes Of Fatty Liver
Glucose and fructose are the two main sugars in our food supply. Each are metabolized differently. All cells in the body can utilize glucose for energy. Fructose, however, is a major player in fatty liver, because liver cells are responsible for metabolizing it. Too much fructose damages, not only the liver, but also the circulatory system.
High fructose corn syrup is consumed today at a rate of five times what it used to be. It is highly refined and used in low-quality processed foods. It turns on lipogenesis, or fat production, in the liver.
Adding insult to injury, HFCS also contains toxic chemicals, and is a genetically-modified food. Stay away from it. It is very damaging to your health. Fructose consumption should not exceed 15 grams per day, and should be eaten in the form of fruits and vegetables.
Soft drinks, consumed in massive amounts, are also full of HFCS. Processed foods, sedentary lifestyles, and environmental toxins – GMOs, plastics, pollution, chemicals, and preservatives – all promote fatty liver. Is sugar just as bad as alcohol? Some studies show that it is!
Fat deposits in the liver dysregulate blood-sugar, increase inflammation, and lead to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and, eventually, diabetes. Tissues become inflamed and metabolically active. Hormones are released into the blood, causing insulin resistance within the liver itself.
Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of risk factors that include high-blood pressure, high-blood sugar, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, and fat accumulation in the abdomen.
To top all this off, if the liver isn’t functioning properly, the blood becomes toxic. As this toxic blood travels throughout the body, negative symptoms appear.
Other causes of this condition include:
Obesity – fatty liver is more prevalent in those that are overweight or obese.
Prescription medications – oral meds are filtered through the liver, causing possible damage.
Acetaminophen – over-the-counter painkillers, such as Tylenol, especially when taken with alcohol, damages the liver. Always use within the recommended guidelines.
Hypothyroidism – thyroid hormones are critical, and help regulate body weight and lipids, as well as, insulin resistance.
Acute fatty liver – this can occur in the third trimester of pregnancy. The symptoms include vomiting, nausea, and jaundice.
Hypopituitarism – people with this condition have an increased risk of fatty liver.
Seek a diagnoses if signs and symptoms persist. The liver is responsible for so many functions in the body that keeping it healthy should always be a top priority.
Because the symptoms are so varied, and can be implicated in other conditions, fatty liver is often misdiagnosed. Find a doctor who will take your symptoms seriously, and not just hand you a prescription to treat the symptoms. This will likely exacerbate the problem.
A thorough medical history along with a physical examination are both important diagnostic tools. Elevated lipids and triglycerides, high-blood sugar, high-blood pressure, and an unhealthy weight, are all potential markers for fatty liver disease.
Elevated liver enzymes – AST and ALT – tested on a routine blood chemistry panel, are also cause for concern – especially if hepatitis is ruled out.
Certain genetic markers can point to an increased risk. The snp (single-nucleotide polymorphism) associated with fatty liver is MTHFD1. Contact 23andMe for more information regarding genetic testing and analysis. It’s easy to do and provides a ton of helpful information.
Symptoms of fatty liver
Symptoms are not always present, especially in the beginning. Do you have any of the symptoms below?:
Physical fatigue and weakness
Mental fatigue and confusion
Bloating and constipation
Poor appetite and digestive disturbances
Inflammation and joint pain
Sleep apnea and insomnia
Blurry vision and sensitivity to light
Jaundiced eyes or skin
Prevention of liver disease and natural remedies
A healthy lifestyle can prevent fatty liver. Strategies that are helpful include:
1. Maintain a healthy weight by eating nutrient-dense, low-glycemic, and fiber-rich foods.
2. Track and maintain your blood sugar within a healthy range.
3. Exercise consistently and manage stress.
4. Reduce exposure to environmental toxins.
5. Keep your liver clean through targeted supplements and detoxification strategies.
Fatty liver natural remedies
The following herbs and supplements support liver health:
Omega 3 fatty acids
Fatty liver, although a common condition, can be reversed. If allowed to progress, it can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even liver failure. If you have any of the symptoms above, and suspect you may have fatty liver, please implement these strategies, to reverse this condition, and regain your health!
Do you or someone you love have fatty liver? I would love to hear about your experience. As always please leave your questions and comments below.