The liver doesn’t get the respect it deserves. This extraordinary organ converts nutrients from your food, removes toxins from your blood, breaks down fats, alcohol, and medications. It controls blood sugar distribution for energy, stores iron, and about 500 more jobs to keep your body functioning. But when things go wrong, you might not know it until there’s permanent damage or your doctor says, “I’m afraid you need a liver transplant.”
What is Fatty Liver?
Evidence suggests if you’ve got extra fat around your belly, so does your liver. About 100 million Americans have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).1 NAFLD encompasses liver damage from little to no alcohol or less than 20 grams of alcohol per day. NAFLD is an umbrella term. It covers fatty liver (steatosis), a build-up of fat in the liver cells, and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which are fatty deposits, plus inflammation. NASH can lead to necrosis (cell death) and fibrosis (fibrotic scarring).2 3
It’s believed fatty liver starts with resistance to the blood sugar hormone insulin, usually caused by excess belly fat. Insulin resistance disrupts the normal responses of escorting the fuel glucose into cells for energy. This leaves excess glucose and insulin in the bloodstream. If these elevated blood levels remain high, it leads to diabetes and heart disease. It also increases the free fatty acids circulating in the blood.
These excess fatty acids accumulate inside liver cells triggering inflammation that damages the surrounding liver tissue. When alcohol isn’t involved, this is called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).7 This is often a relatively stable, mild condition with few if any symptoms. However, it could develop into a severe condition known as cirrhosis. The liver attempts to regenerate itself, creating scar tissue that impairs functions and leads to cancer or total liver failure and the need for a transplant.8
“Fatty liver disease is the world’s fastest-growing reason for needing a liver transplant,”
says Dr. Saleh Alqahtani, director of clinical liver research for Johns Hopkins Medicine.9
A 2003 study of 5003 patients with type 2 diabetes who showed no symptoms except for a very slight elevation of liver enzymes – but still within normal ranges. It revealed that a whopping 98% (4902 patients) either had fatty liver disease or chronic hepatitis (liver inflammation).
Check Your Liver Panels
1. Check your liver enzymes in a Liver Function Test
b. AST (aspartate transaminase)
c. Alkaline phosphatase
Even slight elevations over normal may indicate you have a fatty liver.
How to Help & Protect Your Liver
These suggestions are not only beneficial for your liver; they’re crucial for health and vitality. You can help your liver by reducing its toxin burden and losing weight because fat stimulates widespread inflammation.
Manage your weight:
Exercise is essential for good health and weight management. Research shows that exercise helps reduce fatty liver and insulin resistance and further damage.10
Reduce sugar & starchy carbs:
The driving factor for these liver problems is insulin resistance. Minimizing your refined sugar and starchy carbs intake is critical for balancing blood glucose levels and weight management. Eliminating or dramatically reducing bread, pastries, processed, and refined foods and eating more low-glycemic fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and protein have a significant effect on your liver and overall health. The infusion of these nutrients is the raw fuel your liver needs to affect repairs.
Your liver is responsible for removing toxins and other harmful substances from your body. Avoiding ingesting some of these agents relieves the pressure on your liver and will help you feel refreshed as well. Choose organic or no-pesticide foods as often as possible.
It starts with liver inflammation (alcoholic hepatitis), leading to scarring (cirrhosis) and even liver cancer. About 4 drinks a day for men and 2 for women, and by the time symptoms show up, your liver is permanently damaged with alcoholic fatty liver disease. However, there’s still hope for people who stop drinking at the fatty liver stage might reverse their condition.11
Limit NSAIDs & Supplements: Certain over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) pain relievers, including acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen, can harm the liver. If you take too much, mix them with other meds or alcohol or have a compromised liver. NSAIDs elevate ALT enzymes that lead to fatty liver.12
Supplements and medications should be taken 4 hours apart so as not to overwhelm your liver. Some botanicals that have reports of liver injury, including black cohosh, cascara, chaparral, comfrey, ephedra, and kava should be avoided.13 Beneficial supplements include turmeric, black pepper, beetroot, dandelion, milk thistle, artichoke, ginger, alfalfa, phosphatidylserine, and N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC). Find a quality supplement that includes several of these natural ingredients. It’s always best to consult your physician when adding any nutraceutical to your health regime.
Sleep loss is linked with poor health and contributes to insulin resistance. Health Canada recommends 7-9 hours of sleep. Establishing a routine and comfortable sleep environment helps regulate your circadian rhythm. Make sure your room is cool and dark. Blue light from TV and e-devices blocks the sleep hormone melatonin for 2-3 hours. So shut down well before you intend to sleep. Dim the lights and wind down with relaxing music. Escape into a good “paper” book or soaking in a hot bath is decadently soothing and helps your body prepare for a restoring sleep.14
Taking care of your liver today might make all the difference in preventing debilitating health consequences in the future, including avoiding a liver transplant. Use these tips to boost your health so you can concentrate on enjoying your golden years with pizzazz!
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indiatimes. com/life-style /food-news/dont-have -baking-soda-u se-these-6-s ubstitutes-that- show-better-results /photostory/ 69826939.cms