Fatty liver, or steatosis, is a term that describes the buildup of fat in the liver. While it’s normal to have some fat in your liver, more than 5 to 10 percent of your liver weight is fat in the case of fatty liver.
Fatty liver is a reversible condition that can be resolved with changed behaviors. It often has no symptoms and typically does not cause permanent damage.
The liver is the second largest organ in the body. The liver’s function is to process everything we eat or drink and filter any harmful substances from the blood. This process is interrupted if too much fat is in the liver. The liver commonly repairs itself by rebuilding new liver cells when the old ones are damaged. When there’s repeated damage to the liver, permanent scarring takes place. This is called cirrhosis.
Our liver located in the upper right part of the tummy and its functions include:
– Helping to remove or process alcohol, medications and toxins from the body
– Stores fuel for the body- the food we eat is broken down into a type of sugar called glucose and we use this for energy. Glucose cannot be stored so it is turned into glycogen which is kept in the liver. When we need energy it is released in the form of glucose
– Making proteins that are essential for blood to clot
– Making cholesterol
– Making bile, which digests fat
– Non- alcoholic fatty liver disease
Most people have no symptoms of having a fatty liver, but some do experience persistent pain in the upper part of the stomach, digestive issues and fatigue. Having a fatty liver is not due to drinking in excess, but is due to the foods that we eat.
70-90 Millions American have a fatty liver and don’t even know it.
What Are the Causes of Fatty Liver?
The most common cause of fatty liver is alcoholism and heavy drinking. In many cases, doctors don’t know what causes fatty liver in people who are not alcoholics.
Fatty liver develops when the body creates too much fat or cannot metabolize fat fast enough. The excess fat is stored in liver cells where it accumulates to form fatty liver disease. Eating a high-fat diet may not directly result in fatty liver.
Besides alcoholism, other common causes of fatty liver include:
– hyperlipidemia, or high levels of fats in the blood
– genetic inheritance
– rapid weight loss
– side effect of certain medications, including aspirin, steroids, tamoxifen, and tetracycline
How to reduce your risk for fatty liver- Change your Diet now
– Cut out sugar and high fructose corn syrup ( sodas, pops, ketchup, cookies)
– Read labels
– Reduce starch ( processed flours, processed foods)
– Eat more vegetables
– Incorporate healthy oils into your diet- olive oil, macadamia nut oil, avocado oil
– Eat raw nuts and seeds
– Eat wild fish and wild meats or grass fed beef or bison
– Fish Oil Supplements
– Cruciferous Vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel Sprouts
What to do if you have a fatty liver?
There isn’t a medication or surgery to treat fatty liver. Instead, your doctor will offer recommendations to reduce your risk factors. These recommendations include:
– limiting or avoiding alcoholic beverages
– managing your cholesterol
– losing weight
– controlling your blood sugar
If you have fatty liver because of obesity or unhealthy eating habits, your doctor may also suggest that you increase physical activity and eliminate certain types of food from your diet. Reducing the number of calories you eat each day can help you lose weight and heal your liver.
You can also reverse fatty liver disease by reducing or eliminating fatty foods and foods high in sugar from your diet. Choose healthier foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Replace red meats with lean animal proteins like chicken and fish.
Also add in some supplements:
– Milk Thistle
– Lipoic Acid
– N- Acetyl-l-Cysteine
– B Vitamins