Starting off with an interesting fact, did you know the liver is the largest internal organ in the body? Apart from being the largest, it also has vital functions in the body. The liver’s primary job includes breaking down nutrients from food and eliminating poisons.

So, you might as well imagine the risk if the liver becomes unhealthy and someone develops liver diseases. Well, when we are talking about liver related diseases, we particularly mean a fatty liver. The accumulation of extra fat in the liver cells is known as fatty liver disease (steatosis), and it is a prevalent liver ailment in most countries. Approximately one in ten people are impacted. Although some fat is acceptable in the liver, if fat makes up more than 10% of the weight of the liver, you may have fatty liver and face more significant consequences.

Although a fatty liver may not harm the body, too much fat can occasionally cause the liver to become inflamed.  Over a period of time, an inflamed liver may develop scarring and hardening. This disease, known as cirrhosis, is dangerous and frequently results in liver failure.

This blog will discuss fatty liver in disease and share some tips as to how you can improve the condition. 

So, who exactly is at risk? And what causes fatty liver? 

Health care providers are unsure of the exact cause of fatty liver disease. But they believe that you may be predisposed to fatty liver due to obesity, genetics, and diet. Although children and young adults can also get fatty liver disease, it is most commonly found in middle aged individuals.

Risk factors include:

  • Being overweight
  • Having elevated blood fat levels, either triglycerides or LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having diabetes or prediabetes

Tips for prevention and reversal of fatty liver disease

Though there are no known medical treatments – yet – for fatty liver, there are several treatment and lifestyle changes that may help stop or perhaps reverse some of the damage.

In general, if you have fatty liver, you should:

  • Cut back on alcohol.
  • Reduce weight. Aim to lose between 7-10% of body weight.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Prioritise protein.
  • Integrate moderate physical activity into your daily routine. Aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 times a week.
  •  Decrease your triglycerides with medicine, diet, or both.
  • Decrease your cholesterol level.
  • Manage diabetes.
  • Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats to help manage your cholesterol.
  •  Manage high blood pressure.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that contain large amounts of sugars, such as candy, ice creams, sugary cereals, cold drinks etc.
  • Take an omega-3 supplement to reduce liver fat and improve cholesterol levels.
  • Use alternative herbs and spices like turmeric, milk thistle, green tea, ginger, garlic etc.
  • Limit OTC drugs. 
  • Quit smoking.
  • Limit direct contact with harmful toxins from cleaning and aerosol products, chemicals, insecticides, and additives.
  • See a physician who specialises in liver care

Closing thoughts

Lifestyle and dietary changes are the most effective options for managing fatty liver. Losing weight, being physically active, cutting back on sugar, eating a nutrient-dense diet, and consuming omega-3 supplements and foods are some of the methods that may help improve symptoms associated with the condition. Some studies have recently found that vitamin E supplements seem to improve the liver’s functioning but the science is not confirmed.

If you have this condition, it is recommended that you should work closely with your doctor to develop a personalised treatment plan that’s right for you.

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