Natural remedies to prevent fatty liver

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Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which excess fat is stored in the liver, but alcohol is not the cause. When fatty liver is caused by excessive alcohol consumption, it is called alcohol-related liver disease.

There are two types of NAFLD. When excess fat simply accumulates in the liver, it is called nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL). When there is a build-up of fat and inflammation that lead to liver damage, it is called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

In some cases, NASH can cause extensive inflammation and scarring ( cirrhosis ), which are so severe that they lead to liver failure and liver transplantation . Fortunately, there are home remedies for fatty liver that can help slow the progression of the disease and reverse some of the damage, even if it doesn't heal.

Fatty liver is very common, especially among people with diabetes.

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keep a healthy weight

Follow a healthy plant-based diet and exercise regularly to avoid fat accumulation in the liver. This is because the main risk factors for NAFLD are obesity and diabetes, which are associated with our weight.

The incidence of NAFLD is estimated to be 90% in obese people and 50% in people with diabetes. Because obesity and diabetes are so common in developed countries, about 30% of adults in developed countries have NAFLD. Fortunately, some of this damage can be reversible if you lose those extra pounds.

If you are overweight or obese, the American College of Gastroenterology advises that losing 10% of your body weight will have a positive effect on your liver.

Eat a healthy diet

In 2018, nutritional researchers summarized more than 100 dietary studies for NAFLD, offering five recommendations supported by the literature:

  • Eat a traditional diet, such as the Mediterranean diet , that is high in healthy fats, fish, and vegetables, and low in red meat. (The Mediterranean diet is also approved by the American College of Gastroenterology. )
  • Limit your intake of fructose in processed foods and avoid sugary drinks.
  • Increase your intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated omega-3 fats, including using olive oil, eating oily fish such as salmon and sardines two to three times a week, and consuming nuts and seeds daily.
  • Increase your intake of high-fiber foods, such as eating lots of vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, and reduce your intake of highly processed foods such as fast food, commercial baked goods, and sweets.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.

Exercise regularly

The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases notes in its 2018 guidelines that moderate exercise helps maintain weight loss over time, but increasing exercise can help even more. But exercise seems to help with NAFLD and NASH even without significant weight loss.

In the context of NAFLD research, moderate exercise is often defined as five workouts per week for 30 minutes at a target heart rate, with a 10-minute warm-up and a 5-minute cooldown at 30-40%. % of your target heart rate.

Calculate target heart rate

A popular way to calculate your target heart rate is to find your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. If you are 50, for example, your estimated maximum heart rate is 220 minus 50, which is 170. This is usually the target value. Your heart rate is between 60% and 80% of your maximum heart rate, so in this example it would be 102-136 for a 50-year-old.

Since medications and fitness levels can affect your heart rate, ask your doctor for advice on how to calculate this number if you have fitness issues or are taking medications.

If you are new to exercise, start with a shorter duration and with less intensity and gradually increase. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. They can advise you on what to set for your initial fitness goals, based on your medical condition and medications.

To drink coffee

Numerous studies have shown that coffee can protect against metabolic syndrome , which seems to go hand in hand with NAFLD. This could be due to its anti-inflammatory effect or because it inhibits fat storage in the liver. More research is needed, but experiments in both animals and humans have shown a lower prevalence of NAFLD among coffee drinkers.

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Try milk thistle

Milk thistle , a traditional remedy for liver problems, can stimulate the production of enzymes that help the liver eliminate toxins.

Numerous studies have shown that milk thistle (or its active ingredient, silymarin) can help lower levels of liver enzymes AST and especially ALT . AST and ALT are important markers of liver damage, so lower levels of liver enzymes indicate a healthier liver. Other studies have shown that milk thistle can help reduce liver fibrosis caused by NASH.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates health claims for both supplements and drugs. It is important to note that the FDA has not approved claims that milk thistle improves liver health. Before you start taking any herb, you should talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the safe intake of supplements and if there are any interactions with your current medications.

Get your antioxidants

Vitamins E and C, both antioxidants, can help promote liver health.

The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases has recommended 800 IU of vitamin E per day for nondiabetics with biopsy-proven NASH. The efficacy and safety of long-term use of vitamin E in people with diabetes or people without biopsy-confirmed NASH have not been evaluated.

There are fewer studies supporting vitamin C for liver health, but a 2013 study in Japan found that taking vitamin C and vitamin E together helped minimize NASH liver damage.

Avoid adding sugar

Adding refined sugar to our diet increases calories without providing nutritional benefits. High levels of sugar such as fructose increase the amount of fat-producing enzymes in our liver, a process that has already been improved in people with NAFLD. Although fructose is naturally found in fruits, the high levels associated with liver disease are generally associated with the consumption of sugary sodas and other highly processed foods.

Get rid of liver irritants (if possible)

Exposure to toxins (found in industrial chemicals, some medications, and even foods) can affect liver function and contribute to fatty liver. In addition to protecting yourself from toxic substances, consider removing toxins from your body through a "detox diet."

But beware: many fad detox diets are very strict and can only use smoothies, juices, or other gimmicks. Nutritionists warn that these detox diets have not been proven effective and may even be counterproductive or dangerous.

If you're looking to detox, try spending a week changing your eating habits by eating only whole, unprocessed foods, including lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy oils, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. The Mediterranean diet recommendations discussed above are a good start.

Although some medications can be harmful to the liver, you should not suddenly stop taking your prescription medications without consulting your healthcare provider.

Always ask your healthcare provider

Ask your doctor before stopping any medications, starting a supplement, or starting an exercise plan.

What Causes Fatty Liver?

Fatty liver, common in people who are overweight or obese, is associated with diabetes , high levels of fat in the blood, and insulin resistance. Fatty liver is closely related to metabolic syndrome and can be present in one-third to two-thirds of people with diabetes.

Routine blood tests at your healthcare provider's office should show whether you have high levels of certain liver enzymes , a marker for fatty liver, and other causes of liver damage.

Watch out

While there is no medical cure for liver obesity, losing weight and reducing blood fat levels can help manage the condition. Managing fatty liver disease is critical to your overall health; excess fat in the liver can make you more vulnerable to heart disease, as well as liver disease and diabetes.

Frequently asked questions

How to cure nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?

If you don't already have permanent liver damage, standard treatments for NAFLD are weight loss, exercise, and control of blood lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides). In more severe cases, treatment may include medications or even a liver transplant.

What foods affect fatty liver disease?

Sugar and alcohol are foods that make fatty liver worse, and highly processed foods are often high in calories and fat. Foods high in calories, sugar, and fat can lead to weight gain and diabetes, which are the main risk factors for fatty liver. Whole foods that promote weight loss are beneficial for fatty liver disease.

Get the word of drug information

Due to the lack of supporting research, it is too early to recommend alternative medicine for any medical condition. If you are considering using any form of alternative medicine for fatty liver, be sure to check with your doctor first. Treating a disease on your own and avoiding or delaying standard treatment can have serious consequences.

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