Fatty Liver-Types, Symptoms And Treatments
By Joanne Beccarelli
There is a worldwide epidemic of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and up to 25% of Americans are living with this condition!
Your Liver Is Important!
Your liver is one of your vital organs and is the powerhouse of your body’s detoxification system. Besides filtering, your liver also processes nutrients that are absorbed through digestion, metabolizes alcohol and drugs and regulates how much sugar, protein and fat enter the bloodstream.
Knowing all the functions your liver performs, it is important to watch out for liver diseases. The two most common are alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). While ALD is an expected result of excessive consumption of alcohol, NAFLD is the lesser known disease that is becoming widespread.
What Is Fatty Liver Disease?
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition where the liver accumulates and stores 10-20% fat versus the normal 5-10% levels. NAFLD is most common in people who are overweight or obese and is often tied to diabetes, insulin resistance, high cholesterol or high triglycerides.
Buildup of fat in the liver is a burden, leaving it vulnerable to inflammation and swelling. If left unaddressed, it could progress, leading to scarring and irreversible damage.
What Are The Symptoms?
According to The American Liver Foundation, NAFLD often has no early warning signs and is usually first detected by drawing blood for liver enzyme tests, alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST). However, occasionally symptoms are present and can include:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Nausea and abdominal pain
- Spider-like blood vessels
- Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
- Edema, swelling of the legs
- Ascites, swelling of the abdomen
- Mental confusion
How To Reverse Fatty Liver Disease
Although there is nothing traditional medicine can do to completely eliminate NAFLD, the good news may that it is possible to reverse fatty liver disease naturally, as long as it is detected before it progresses and causes permanent damage.
I have had great success helping clients reverse NAFLD and even though it takes a commitment, it is achievable. The most important steps are food and lifestyle changes that can have a tremendous effect.
- Consume A Healthy Diet. Changing your diet to one that is mostly vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean and clean proteins is key. Removing all refined carbohydrates, sugars and processed oils is also important.
- When eating a mostly whole foods, plant-based diet, you will also naturally increase your fiber and will get healthy fats from foods, which can help the way the body processes the food.
- Lower Your Cholesterol And Triglycerides. Know what your levels are through an annual exam and bloodwork. Then take measures with diet to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides into normal ranges.
- Consult with your doctor if immediate short-term help is needed from medication, in addition to changing diet as mentioned above for lasting improvements.
- Lose Excess Weight. Losing weight can help change the way your body processes foods and consequently can help to change the load on your liver. The good news is that by changing diet, weight can come off and the liver can begin to get some relief.
- Manage Your Diabetes. Insulin resistance is a factor in NAFLD, so managing diabetes is key. A whole food diet can have a tremendous impact on blood sugar levels, particularly for type 2 diabetes. Simultaneously, work closely with your doctor to monitor and control your blood sugar levels while you are working on changing your diet.
- Increase Your Activity Level. Become a more active person in everyday life or incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise into your days. Embrace activities that you love that get you moving, doing as much as you can while you work towards more. Every little bit helps.
- Skip Alcohol And Drugs. Since the liver metabolizes and processes everything that goes into your mouth, eliminate these toxic substances to avoid putting extra stress on your liver. Stop drinking alcohol and do your best not to reach for over-the-counter medications unless absolutely necessary.
Add In These Holistic Remedies
Adding in more specific holistic remedies can accelerate improvement in liver function support, cleansing and repair.
- Lemon – Lemon is high in vitamin C and antioxidants, which protect the liver and help to cleanse it by producing glutathione. Glutathione is an enzyme that helps to neutralize toxins.
- Turmeric (Spice, Supplement) – Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It can also improve the body’s ability to digest fats and helps to regulate blood cholesterol, which both help to prevent fatty liver disease.
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – Organic apple cider vinegar reduces liver inflammation, helps to release accumulated fat in and around the liver and promotes weight loss.
- Dandelion (Tea, Supplement, Salad) – Dandelion, both the root and the leaves, are often used to cleanse the liver and help promote healthy liver function.
- Milk Thistle (Tea, Supplement) – Milk thistle contains a bioflavonoid complex known as silymarin, which helps as a protector and aid for liver diseases, disorders of the bile duct and spleen.
For more information on these and other natural liver cleansers, read “Superfoods That Will Cleanse Your Liver.”
The health of your liver is critically important; therefore, ensuring your success is equally as important. This is also a good reason to get the additional support of a health coach to keep you motivated and to help guide you on how to use these lifestyle changes and holistic remedies to begin to reverse your fatty liver disease.
Joanne Beccarelli is a holistic health coach, juicing junkie, writer, soon to be cookbook author and recovered emotional eater. Inspired by many great voices in the health-thru-food revolution, Joanne found her way out of hiding in shame (losing almost 100 lbs in the process) and stepped away from the corporate world. She now dedicates every day to helping others who are overwhelmed, overworked, and overstressed, find awareness, fulfilment and better health.
Joanne has a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell/T. Colin Campbell Foundation, and became a Certified Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is also a member of American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP), and the International Association of Health Coaches (IAHC).
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