April 6, 2015
313 Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver [6 April 2015]
Fatty liver disease is a common condition in people who regularly consume alcohol. In the last few decades it has also become common in people who drink little or no alcohol; in these people it is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). A fatty liver is defined as one with fatty deposits make up 5% or more of the liver.
In North America up to 20% of adults and 10% of children have this condition, but most do not know it. In many people there are no signs or symptoms and it is only discovered by routine liver function tests.
The cause of NAFLD is uncertain, but it is associated with obesity (especially abdominal fat), insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, high triglycerides and high blood pressure. It is of concern because it can progress to inflammation, liver scarring, and more serious liver disease. Certain medications and high consumption of simple carbs, especially fructose, are linked to NAFLD.
There is no standard medical treatment for NAFLD. Dietary changes, exercise and weight loss are typically recommended. Diet recommendations include: avoidance of alcohol, high-fructose corn syrup, and trans-fats; elimination of all processed foods; and increase in whole foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, good fats and proteins. Cruciform vegetables (cabbage family) are especially beneficial for the liver. Some practitioners recommend juicing raw vegetables. There are also many supplements which support liver health:
• N-Acetyl Cysteine – precursor to glutathione
• Alpha-Lipoic Acid – a powerful antioxidant
• Vitamins E and C, certain B vitamins, magnesium
• Turmeric – natural anti-inflammatory
• Herbs like milk thistle, dandelion root, artichoke, garlic
• Coffee drinking in moderation is beneficial for the liver
A protein-sparing ketogenic weight loss program deals with many of the associated conditions – obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia – so could be one approach to reversing NAFLD.
Canadian Liver Foundation
Dr Mark Hyman
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner. See this article on my website for links to sources and further reading.