When it comes to this condition, there are two main types:
- Alcoholic liver disease
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Another rare type of this condition is acute fatty liver of pregnancy which occurs as a result of the accumulation of fats in the liver of pregnant women.
FUNCTION OF THE LIVER
The liver is the second largest organ in the human body which performs hundreds of complex functions. The liver releases bile needed for digestion of fats, detoxifies the blood, breaks down hormones, stores minerals, vitamins and iron as well as fights infections and illnesses.
Along these functions, the liver processes nutrients from the intestines in order to provide their proper absorption. Also, it regulates the blood composition, balances fats, proteins, sugar, as well as breaks down medication and alcohol.
This points out how important this organ is for the overall health of the human body. If it is not functioning in the proper manner, most of the body processes will be disrupted. For that reason, it is of crucial importance to detoxify the liver, in order to prevent any additional complications.
Those people suffering from fatty liver disease experience disturbed handling of fats by the liver cells. When large amounts of fats are removed from the blood, and they are not eliminated by the liver cells, they accumulate in the liver. This leads to an imbalance between the uptake and export of fats.
TYPES OF FATTY LIVER DISEASE
As we have mentioned before, there are two main types of fatty liver disease:
Alcoholic liver disease is a result of an excessive consumption of alcohol. It is directed by the amount of alcohol you drink which the blood is not able to break down. If there is a person in your family that is prone to alcohol, you have greater chances of becoming an alcoholic.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NADLD) is one of the leading liver disorders that many people from the Western world experience. It is the top leading chronic liver disease worldwide.
Statistically, NADLD usually affects middle-aged as well as obese people. Unfortunately, more and more children suffer from the condition as a result of the standard American diet.
People with NAFLD usually have diabetes and high levels of cholesterol. Generally speaking, NAFLD is a condition related to medications, malnutrition, fast weight loss, inherited liver disease and a great number of bacteria in the small intestines.
NAFLD INCLUDES THREE TYPES:
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver is when there is a buildup of fats in the liver which won’t do any harm. Although there is an excess liver fat, there aren’t any complications.
The University of Sydney has conducted a study which showed that 17-33% of Americans suffer from this condition. This percentage parallels the rate of insulin resistance, obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis affects small number people with fatty liver. This condition inflames the liver and obstructs its proper way of functioning. Unfortunately, this can lead to cirrhosis.
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease – associated cirrhosis is a condition where the inflammation causes scarring of the liver tissue and makes the liver heavier than any other organ. This can lead to severe scarring so that the liver no more is able to function.
- Acute fatty liver of pregnancy is another serious condition in which fat is build up in the liver thus endangering the lives of both the mother and the baby. It can also be caused by excessive bleeding or serious infection.
When this condition is diagnosed during pregnancy, the mother delivers the baby right away, and within several weeks her liver will function normally.
SYMPTOMS OF LIVER DISEASE
Fatty liver disease can reflect no symptoms so you may even be unaware of it. Over time, it can show some symptoms such as:
- Feeling tired
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Trouble concentrating
- Bloating and gas
- Enlarged liver
- Part in the upper or center part of the belly
- Dark urine
- Excessive sweat
- Bruising easily
- Dry and dark patches on underarms and neck
As we have mentioned before, cirrhosis is one of the most dangerous fatty liver diseases. In this condition, the liver tissue is covered with scar tissue that prevents its normal functioning.
The scars prevent the normal flow of blood thus slowing down the procession of hormones, nutrients, toxins and nutrients.
Some of the symptoms of this disease include muscle weakness, the buildup of fluid in the body, yellow eyes and skin, internal bleeding and liver failure.
The fatty liver disease could not be noticed without a doctor’s checkup. Some medical devices and tests detect the onset of this condition.
First of all, the doctor will notice the size of the patient’s liver which is bigger than usual. Also, it can be detected with a blood test because the increased level of certain liver enzymes will point out this disease.
Another way of diagnosis is an ultrasound that will give a closer look of this organ and a biopsy. Biopsy includes taking out of a small piece of the organ to test the damaged liver cells, fats and inflammation.
CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS OF LIVER DISEASE
Fatty liver disease is a condition when the liver does not break down fats in the proper manner, and they accumulate in the liver tissue.
This disease can be caused by:
- Autoimmune or inherited liver disease
- Viral hepatitis
- Fast weight loss
Other risk factors additionally increase the risk of NAFLD, such as:
- Gastric bypass surgery
- Type 2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
- Metabolic syndrome
- High level of triglycerides in the blood
- Sleep apnea
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
The Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis conducted a study which shows that obesity is closely related to an increased risk of NAFLD.
The major feature of this condition is called steatosis or an infiltration of liver cells with fat, associated with a disturbed metabolism.
In 2006, the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology published a review that claims that NAFLD is especially common among patients who undergo bariatric surgery. The review also stated that NAFLD is most common among men and it increases with older age and in women after menopause.
FOODS THAT PROMOTE FATTY LIVER DISEASE
If you are a heavy drinker and you have fatty liver disease, you should immediately quit alcohol. It’s the alcohol that brought about this condition.
The Bronx Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York conducted a review which found that fatty liver disease is most common among alcoholics not only because of malnutrition but also of inflammation and toxicity. So, if you experience this condition, make sure you avoid alcohol in any case.
Along with alcohol, foods such as rice, bread, corn, and grits should be definitely avoided. Refined carbs increase the insulin level, and the insulin sensitivity is the leading factor for this liver disease.
Avoid the whole grain packages which are labeled as “enriched.” Instead of using fresh bread, try gluten-free bread such as Ezekiel bread or some sandwich substitutes. In the case of rice, choose brown rice instead of white one.
Energy drinks, sports drinks, juice, and soda are high in sugar and artificial sweeteners. In fact, it’s this sugar that enters the body and causes fatty liver disease.
For example, 12-ounce can of soda has over 10 tbsps. of sugar. The sugar that the body couldn’t break down directly impacts the liver.
The Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta has conducted a study which found that sugars, especially fructose lead to development and progression of NAFLD.
Refined sugar, hydrogenated oils, lunch meats and convenience foods are highly toxic for your body. Nitrites and nitrates, found in lunch meat and processed foods are related to serious conditions such as cancer.
Another cause of the fatty liver disease is the high fructose corn syrup, found in processed foods.
IMPROVE FATTY LIVER DISEASE WITH THESE FOODS
The European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry published a review which states that fruits, vegetables, herbs, plant extracts abound with natural substances that treat liver disease.
The easiest way to treat liver disease is to juice some vegetables, and in this way, they won’t only be easier to digest by easily to absorb.
Cabbage, kale, cauliflower, lettuce, Brussels sprout, broccoli, beets, asparagus, and celery, are the most suitable ones for liver detoxification.
Fiber-rich foods will promote a healthy digestive tract and will improve the toxins’ elimination from the body. Ginger is loaded with powerful compounds, important for the digestive system and will successfully treat liver disease.
In order to treat liver disease, you can make ginger tea by boiling water with ginger slices. Also, tend to include more ginger in your diet, add it to smoothie, salad or stir-fry.
Sweet potatoes are rich in potassium, an important mineral which promotes liver cleansing and treats liver disease. One single sweet potato has about 700 mg of potassium.
It is also high in iron, magnesium and vitamins B6, C and D. Because of the naturally sweet taste, the body slowly releases the sugars into the bloodstream without increasing the level of sugar.
With 470 mg of potassium, bananas are very important in the process of liver cleansing and overcoming low potassium levels. Also, they promote digestion, toxins and heavy metals release from the body.
Dandelion root is rich in important nutrients and vitamins which cleanse the liver and treat liver disease. It is a potent diuretic that eliminates toxins from the liver very quickly.
Also, dandelion maintains the proper flow of the bile thus helping the digestive system. Its stems and tea are rich in vitamin C which promotes mineral absorption, prevents the development of any disease and reduces inflammation.
Being a potent detoxifier, milk thistle supports the liver functioning. It rebuilds liver cells and removes the processed toxins from the body.
The Digestive Diseases and Sciences published a study which states that milk thistle can even improve mortality in patients with liver failure and can treat liver disease. Also, it can reverse the harmful effects of alcohol, heavy metals in the water, pesticides in food and pollution in the air.
In 2010, a study found that milk thistle successfully treats alcoholic liver disease, toxin-induced liver disease and acute and chronic viral hepatitis.
Liver from healthy, grass-fed cattle is rich in vitamins and nutrients, especially vitamins A, B, choline, folic acid, copper, iron, chromium, zinc, and CoQ10.
Actually, it is the most nutrient-rich food that you can include in your diet and it can help you treat liver disease. If you do not prefer animal liver, take some liver supplements but make sure they do not contain antibiotics, pesticides, and hormones.
NATURAL REMEDIES AND SUPPLEMENTS FOR LIVER DISEASE
According to research by the University of Florida, vitamin E supplements, lifestyle changes are very important for people with the nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that increases immunity, reduces inflammation, and helps the body fight serious conditions.
Add turmeric to your diet or take some supplement in order to reduce inflammation and treat liver disease. If you take it as a supplement, make sure you take 450 mg of curcumin capsules every day.
BLACK SEED OIL
This oil will significantly improve the healing process for people who suffer from the fatty liver disease.
According to a study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, this oil is able to inhibit liver oxidative stress markers and treat liver disease. The study also found that black seed oil can reduce progression and complications of the fatty liver disease.
One of the best ways to treat liver disease is to keep a balanced and healthy diet. You shouldn’t be malnourished or overweight because your body needs the nutrients and vitamins in order to function properly.
So, the best treatment of this conditions is a healthy diet and a weight loss. It is of crucial importance to keep a well-balanced diet based on plants as well as you should exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
RECIPES FOR LIVER DISEASE TREATMENT
As we have mentioned before, vegetable juices are the best way to detoxify your body and reduce inflammation. The heavy metals present in our bodies are one of the most dangerous conditions that can cause liver damage. So, it is highly important to get rid of them and allow your organs to function properly.
If you include turmeric, it will reduce swelling and improve the digestive system. Both ginger and cilantro are important for the liver detoxification and improving the immune and digestive system.
LIVER DETOX JUICE RECIPE
This juice will boost your liver health by removing all the accumulated toxins. It will also promote digestion, metabolism, immunity and storage of nutrients.
Time: 5 minutes
You will need:
- 1 medium size beet
- 6 celery stalks
- 1 cup of fresh cilantro
- ½ lemon
- 1 knob of ginger
Method of preparation:
Place all of the ingredients in a juicer. Stir the juice and consume it in the very moment.