Fatty liver is a term that describes the buildup of fat in the liver. While it’s normal to have some fat in your liver, it should comprise less than 5 to 10 percent of your liver’s weight.
The liver is the second largest organ in your body and is located under your rib cage on the right side. Your liver processes anything you eat or drink, and either repackages it for your body to use or eliminates it. This process is interrupted if too much fat is in the liver.
Fatty liver is frequently asymptomatic. If there are symptoms they may include fatigue, weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), itching, fluid buildup and swelling of the legs (edema) and abdomen (ascites), and mental confusion.
Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) can go undetected for years and may eventually progress to inflammation and scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) and, in rare cases, full-blown liver failure. Fatty Liver Disease also increases the risk of a heart attack. Frequently people with NAFLD are pre-diabetic or have adult onset diabetes.
Some cases of NAFLD are associated with drugs such as tamoxifen (used to prevent breast cancer recurrence), the antibiotic tetracycline, and long-term use of steroids. Many cases result from diets high in sugars (especially high fructose corn syrup) and/or flour.
Most people who develop fatty liver are middle-aged, and many are overweight. You’re most likely to find out you have fatty liver following a routine blood test in the course of a physical exam or from an ultrasound.
There are currently no medical treatments for NAFLD.
This condition can be reversed with dietary changes and regular exercise.
Dietary changes to reverse NAFLD:
Cut out all high fructose corn syrup from your diet. Be sure to read labels when shopping.
Strictly limit sugar, which includes honey, maple syrup, agave, and brown rice syrup.
Eliminate sugar substitutes.
Reduce or eliminate starch. Completely eliminate white, processed flour. Even whole grain flours can be a problem.
Strictly limit alcohol intake.
Add some good things to your diet to help heal your fatty liver. Add plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Add lean animal protein like chicken and fish. Add good oils like olive oil, macadamia nut oil, avocados, coconut oil, and fish oil. Good fats like these are anti-inflammatory, and they help repair your liver.
Improve your metabolism through exercise. This is a fabulous way to improve insulin resistance and reduce fatty liver.
Eat detoxifying liver-repairing super foods. Focus on the broccoli family which includes kale, collards, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, arugula, and daikon radish-all wonderful foods that help repair and heal your liver. Garlic and onions, also, are full of sulfur, which is a great detoxifier.
To Prevent NAFLD:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercise regularly
- Limit alcohol intake
- Only take medicines that you need and follow dosing recommendations.
Acupuncture can help improve the functioning of the organ systmems. Please contact me if you have any questions.