Believe it or not, fatty liver has become a shockingly common disease. Nowadays, we consume foods which lack nutrients responsible for regulating our body functions, one of which is sugar metabolism, which results in a condition known as Insulin Resistance. Studies have linked Insulin resistance to the development of fatty liver disease. Insulin resistance a condition in which sugar cannot be metabolized by cells, due to reduced insulin sensitivity. This results in a build up both of these in the blood.
Don’t be confused by the name “fatty” liver, as this is not a result of dietary fats, but carbohydrates (as well as alcohol and prescription drugs). Especially, refined carbohydrates. It is also more common in people whom are overweight or obese.
- Sluggish digestion
- Abdominal Pain
- Occasionally it causes weight loss
- Weight gain and difficulty in losing weight
- Slight enlargement of the liver
Correct Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance can be solved by combining the following:
- Low-Carb or Ketogenic diet -This is a diet in which one consumed little or no carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein and predominantly fat. One does not have to be strictly keto as simply reducing your carbs is also effective. This has been linked to a significant reduction in blood sugar and improvement in insulin resistance (see study)
- Intermittent Fasting – This is the act of fasting for a certain amount of time and then eating within a short window of time. During the fasting phase, nothing is consumed at all. The most effective way to do this is to fast for 14-18 hours and eat in the remaining time. Keep in mind that you are fasting while sleeping so those hours count. This form of fasting has been linked to significant improvements in insulin sensitivity (see study).
- Supplements that improve blood sugar such as:
- Chromium -> Improves insulin sensitivity
- Vanadium -> Improves the way insulin works
- Amla -> Reduces blood sugar and improves overall metabolic health
- Berberine -> Reduces blood sugar similarly to that of common antidiabetic medicines
- Cinnamon -> Improves insulin senstivity
Silymarin is the key chemical constituent found in Milk Thistle. It is a polyphenolic flavonoid that possesses antifibrotic, immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. It is found to significantly increase glutathione concentrations resulting in improved detoxification. In clinical research, Silymarin has been found to significantly improve liver function in fatty liver patients (see study).
In addition to this, Silymarin supplementation has been found to significantly improve blood sugar levels and blood cholesterol levels in patients with Diabetes (see study). This is quite important as I mentioned earlier, that elevated blood sugar plays a central role in the development of this condition.
Liv. 52 DS & by Himalaya
Liv. 52 DS is an Ayurvedic polyherbal formula that is made by The Himalaya Drug Company. It has been used in various clinical trials for treating a wide-range of hepatic illnesses including Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), Cirrhosis, and for preventing hepatotoxicity of statins and chemotherapy drugs. It is one of the most well-studied natural medicines in existence and is used by both Ayurvedic and Allopathic doctors in India and various other parts of the world.
In one clinical trial, Liv. 52 DS supplementation in patients with Fatty Liver Disease resulting in significant improvements in liver function parameters, clinical presentation, and ultrasonographic and NAFLD scores of NASH. There were also no adverse effects (see study)
In the USA and Canada, Liv. 52 is sold as LiverCare by Himalaya. It is basically the same product with the exclusion of one ingredient.
A clinical trial done at the University of Lausanne demonstrated that the consumption of 60 grams of Whey protein, daily for 4 weeks, resulted in a significant reduction (21%) of intra-hepatocellular lipids (liver fat) in eleven obese women. It was also noted that there were no adverse effects (see study).
Whey protein is a pretty healthy, and safe supplement for reducing liver fat. Combining it with the options mentioned above is a good way to rid yourself of this condition.
Make sure to use a naturally sweetened/unsweetened and naturally flavored/unflavored whey protein supplement.
Consume a diet low in carbohydrates, and high in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. Protein has been seen in studies to be quite effective in managing fatty liver disease, however, I recommend avoiding excessive red meat and pork. Consume healthy fats, like olive oil, ghee, and pure butter. A ketogenic diet would be the way to go. Cruciferous vegetables are extremely hepato-protective and assist in detoxifying the liver.
For the purpose of counteracting insulin resistance, consume black pepper. Over the course of the day, try to consume at least a ¾ teaspoon of it, by adding a little at a time to your foods. Black pepper is rich in Chromium and Vanadium, both of which significantly improve insulin sensitivity and regulate sugar metabolism. Mushrooms also contain both of these minerals. On the other hand, you may just consume a supplement of vanadium and chromium.
Avoid starchy foods, refined carbohydrates, sugary drinks, and all junk food.
(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a doctor)
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By Dr. Nishal Ramnunan B.A.M.S.
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