Causes of fatty liver disease Remedy for Fatty Liver
Causes of Fatty Liver Disease is a result of excess deposits on the liver, which prevent it from functioning normally. The result? You are likely to experience poor digestion, weakness, weight loss and, in extreme cases, death! Learning about Fatty Liver causes and symptoms can help you take the right action early and save your life!
But before that, you need to know that there are two types of Fatty Liver Disease – Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (AFLD).
In this article, we shall discuss the causes and symptoms of fatty liver of both these types, to gain a thorough understanding of the problem.
Surprising Causes of Fatty Liver
Fatty liver disease is a health issue no longer limited to those with alcohol dependency. It’s a very real problem that is directly connected to the overconsumption of sugar, an ongoing issue in the typical American diet.
What is fatty liver?
The liver processes everything we eat and drink, and removes harmful substances from our blood. It’s the second-largest organ in the body and it works very hard to remove toxins. It has to work even harder when we overload it with too much sugar. When we store too much fat in our bodies we lose the ability to metabolize it fast enough in order to burn fat for energy.
The excess fat is stored in the liver, where it accumulates and causes inflammation and/or fatty liver disease. What’s scary is that there are typically very few obvious symptoms of fatty liver, and people often do not even know that they have it. Although symptoms have been reported of fatigue, poor appetite, physical weakness, and abdominal pain, only a doctor can provide an accurate diagnosis.
What causes fatty liver?
Drinking too much alcohol can cause fatty liver, however there are a number of other ways that the liver can get overloaded. Consuming too many processed sugars, low physical activity, and high body weight have all been linked to fatty liver disease.
This is especially concerning when it comes to children. Childhood obesity is on the rise, and high amounts of added sugars in processed foods, including fruit juices, are a big part of the problem.
Why is fatty liver so bad?
If fatty liver goes untreated, it can lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), cancer, or liver failure. Even without the consumption of alcohol, these symptoms can develop early in life when children have high sugar diets. The good news is that in many cases, fatty liver can be treated with a change in diet.
How should I change my diet to prevent fatty liver?
There is no one-size-fits-all diet that works across the board for everyone. However, there are some small changes you can make to create a healthier environment in your body, and take some of the load off your hard-working liver.
Diet changes to reduce the risk of fatty liver:
- Avoid sugary drinks.
Beverages are the biggest culprit for increased sugar intake, and one of the easiest to reduce. We often ignore the amount of sugar contained in beverages, whether we simply don’t read labels, or assume because a drink contains fruit or fruit juices then it is healthy. Although fruit sugars seem better than processed sugars, our bodies are not built to process the abnormally high amounts that we consume.
Some doctors even recommend removing fruit juice from your diet all together, especially for children. Cutting juice with water, or switching to True Citrus are great ways to reduce sugar intake through beverages.
- Eat less processed foods.
Navigate your grocery cart away from those center aisles, and instead purchase unprocessed foods as much as possible. This means preparing and cooking more meals at home, and increasing the amount of fresh foods in your fridge and pantry. If the food can go bad, it usually means that it is healthier for you to eat!
Consult your doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian to find the best diet plan for you.
Fatty liver is a big problem on the rise in the U.S., but new research is showing that there are definite ways to combat it. We are constantly surrounded by sugary processed foods, and it is up to us to take our lives into our hands and make healthy changes in our diets.
How Many People Have Fatty Liver?
Around 20% of the US population suffers from non-alcoholic fatty liver and this number is going up. Children can even develop fatty liver-and lots of fat storage right around the midsection or belly area is a clue this may be happening to your child’s liver.
This type of fatty liver is similar to the fatty liver that can develop with excess alcohol intake. Excessive alcohol intake can destroy and inflame liver tissue in a similar way as non-alcoholic fatty liver-though the non-alcoholic form of fatty liver is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the developed world.
Is Fatty Liver Genetic?
Risk factors-which make you more likely to develop fatty liver – include obesity and insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes. While there may be a genetic component related to the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver, fatty liver is still completely reversible, especially if you treat it in the early stages.
Luckily, in most cases fatty liver is completely reversible with weight loss and dietary changes, making it a lifestyle disease that is completely reversible-as long as it hasn’t been happening for so long that your liver becomes scarred.
What Causes Fatty Liver?
First and foremost, researches point to insulin resistance as the most important factor in developing fatty liver. Insulin resistance causes fatty liver because insulin’s normal signaling is disrupted, and fat will mobilize and deposit in all the wrong places, namely-your liver.
Fatty liver is associated with a higher intake of saturated and trans-fats in the diet, as well as excess intake of carbohydrates and simple sugars (like fructose and sucrose). Too many carbohydrates and simple sugars is also one of the reasons people develop insulin resistance, as well.
One study found that patients who had fatty liver consumed twice as much high fructose corn syrup as people without fatty liver. And children who have fatty liver and consume lots of high fructose corn syrup typically have a poor metabolic profile.
How to Reverse Fatty Liver
1. You can reverse fatty liver by adopting a diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins like greek yogurt, chicken, turkey, shrimp, lean beef, lean pork, and whole grains like oats, rye, whole wheat pasta, and wild rice. All of these healthy categories of foods help to reverse fatty liver.
2. If you want to reverse fatty liver, it’s also a must that you stop drinking sugary-sodas or sugar-sweetened beverages, avoid alcohol, and reduce the amount of processed foods in your diet. Reducing your intake of white flour, white pasta, white rice, and dessert items like cookies, cakes, doughnuts, and pies will also help you avoid developing insulin resistance, which is the primary cause of fatty liver.
3. Exercise is not only good for your mood, your heart, your blood vessels, and your overall health, it’s good for reversing fatty liver too. Exercising 3 times per week for 45 minutes to an hour can reduce the amount of fat in your liver in just 8 weeks.
4. Losing just 7% of your body weight – which if you weigh 200 pounds would be around 14 pounds-can begin to reverse your fatty liver.
5. Consuming foods that are rich in lecithin (also referred to as phosphatidylcholine, or just choline, for short) can help protect your liver from further damage from fatty deposits in the liver. Foods that are rich in lecithin include egg yolks, and plant foods like cruciferous vegetables-such as broccoli and Brussel sprouts-as well as soybeans, kidney beans, and sunflower seeds. Lecithin helps to ensure fat is stored in the proper places inside liver cells.
Symptoms Of Fatty Liver:
Most people who are affected by Fatty Liver do not experience any major signs. However, as the grade progresses, one may experience some of these symptoms.
- Discomfort And Pain The Right Upper Quadrant: Inflammation of the liver can cause abdominal pain, typically on the right side of the body.
- Loss of Appetite: You might experience poor digestion and a feeling of fullness in the upper abdomen.
- Weight Loss: In complicated conditions like Liver Fibrosis or Cirrhosis, patients may experience gradual weight loss.
- Weakness and Fatigue: One may experience sluggishness and lack of energy due to fatty liver disease.
- Jaundice: You may notice yellowing of skin and eyes due to buildup of Bilirubin in blood.
- Skin Rash: Symptoms like redness, skin rash and itching can occur in severe cases of fatty liver disease.
- Edema: Due to decreased protein production by the liver, patients may experience swelling of the abdomen and legs.
- Nausea: Some patients may experience nausea and vomitings due to the liver inability to eliminate the toxins from your body.
- Mental Confusion: The accumulated toxins in the liver can get deposited in the brain and cause mental confusion, lack of focus and gradually, unresponsiveness and coma.
Risks and Dangers of Fatty Liver:
A simply Fatty Liver might not pose any immediate health risks to the body. However, when left untreated, the disease may progress to more serious conditions like Steatosis, Fibrosis and Cirrhosis. Here some of the dangerous complications of neglecting a Fatty Liver:
1. Liver Cancer:
It is known that continued alcohol consumption while having alcoholic hepatitis or cirrhosis may increase the risk of liver cancers and increased mortality.
A study suggests that patients suffering from Fatty Liver are more prone to getting Type-2 Diabetes within 5 years of developing that condition(4). Irrespective of the insulin resistance, those with fatty liver recorded higher glucose levels and lipid profiles than those who did not have fatty liver.
3. Coronary Artery Diseases:
Recent findings suggest that non-alcoholic fatty disease caused due to obesity can increase the risk of heart diseases like artery blocks. In extreme cases, it may even lead to heart attacks and failures.
That explains the symptoms and causes of fatty liver in detail! A basic understanding of these points can help you identify the problem early and take the right course of action. The best way to reverse or lower the severity of the condition is through lifestyle changes, which include a healthy diet and regular exercise. Speak to your doctor for more information on Fatty Liver disease!
Frequently Asked Question And Answers :
1. Is Fatty Liver Painful?
In most cases, fatty liver occurs without any noticeable symptoms. In advanced stages, patients may experience a dull pain in the right side of the abdomen. With time, it can progress into a stabbing pain that can be unbearable. You may also notice swelling in that area and pain that radiates into the back and right shoulder blade.
2. Can Low Vitamin-D Cause Fatty Liver?
Yes! A recent study suggests that patients with low serum Vitamin D levels have higher chances of getting Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) (5). This vitamin is known to have anti-inflammatory effects on the liver and protect it from hepatic damage. It is also found that Vitamin D supplementation can improve the lipid profile levels, which can lower the severity of NAFLD.
3. Do Gallstones Lead To Fatty Liver?
Gallstones are formed when the cholesterol and bile get solidified into small crystals. These stones can get trapped in the opening of the bile duct and blocks the flow of bile from the liver. With time, the stones can cause liver scarring, cirrhosis and liver failure, in extreme cases.
Disclaimer: This article does not provide any medical advice and is intended for informational purposes only. It must not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.