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What is NAFLD and Can It Be Reversed?

photo of liver on womans

  • NAFLD (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease) refers to a set of conditions with one main symptom: excessive build-up of fat in the liver due to non-alcohol-related reasons. It can range from a simple fatty liver to the more serious NASH (Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis).
  • Although NAFLD is common and easily treated, it can quickly develop into a more serious liver condition if you ignore it. If you have other metabolic syndromes like diabetes or obesity, you are also at higher risk of developing NASH and fibrosis.
  • NAFLD does not have any approved medical cure or treatment. Doctors and scientists agree that the best way to reverse NAFLD is through a series of healthier lifestyle choices, such as more exercise and a more nutritious diet.
  • Natural treatments like organic detoxification programs and herbal supplements can greatly improve your body’s metabolism and antioxidant activity, which is essential in reversing and preventing NAFLD.

It’s normal for your liver to have fat, but what if there’s too much of it?

Don’t worry. It’s a condition that’s more common than you might think. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, fatty liver affects one in three adults and about one in ten children in the United States. For moderate to heavy drinkers, it’s called alcoholic liver disease. But for light and non-drinkers, it’s called non-alcoholic liver disease.

The good news is that fatty liver disease is completely reversible with the right lifestyle choices. It only poses a serious problem if the buildup accounts for 5% to 10% of your liver’s weight. If left untreated, it can become inflamed, develop scar tissue, and then develop into liver cirrhosis. The worst case scenario is that it can lead to cancer or liver failure.

If you have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, don’t let it develop into something worse. Continue reading this article to find out more about non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and how you can reverse it through natural and organic ways.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

What is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD generally refers to the build-up of excess fat in the liver of people who drink little to no alcohol. It is a common disorder that covers a group of conditions centered around steatosis or fatty liver.

How is it different from alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD)?

Aside from the obvious alcoholic vs. non-alcoholic distinction, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is different from alcoholic fatty liver disease in terms of how it causes fat to accumulate in the liver.

With AFLD, too much alcohol can cause oxidative stress on the organ. This leads to fat buildup, inflammation, and fibrosis. On the other hand, NAFLD happens when a combination of high calorie intake and low physical activity causes fat buildup in the liver. This can result in inflammation, scarring, or cancer.

What about non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)?

NAFLD covers a range of steatosis conditions, but the most serious one is called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In this case, the accumulated fat has led to liver cell inflammation and various degrees of scarring. With NASH, there are high chances of developing severe liver scarring or cirrhosis.

What are the symptoms of NAFLD?

Many people diagnosed with NAFLD report no symptoms and often have a normal examination. But if the condition has progressed to hepatic inflammation, liver scarring, or cirrhosis, individuals can suffer from fatigue and abdominal discomfort. In some cases, people with advanced NAFLD also reported experiencing nausea, jaundice, and edema.

This makes the condition hard to detect and address early on, with diagnosis and treatment beginning only when there is already irreversible damage to the liver’s tissue.

How are NAFLD and NASH diagnosed?

Despite numerous studies and research, there have been no approved pharmacological treatment for NAFLD or NASH. Early diagnosis is key to avoiding cirrhosis or liver damage.

To find out if you have a high risk of having fatty liver, you can ask your doctor to take liver enzyme and function tests. You can also ask for an ultrasound or a FibroScan, which is a non-invasive ultrasound for the liver. This will measure your liver’s fat accumulation and degree of scarring.

For individuals with confirmed NAFLD, a liver biopsy is needed to determine whether you have a simple fatty liver or NASH. But more often than not, NAFLD or NASH is detected by accident through an imaging study (like an abdominal ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI) needed for other diagnoses.

NAFLD is common, but you should take it seriously

A woman advising another woman

NAFLD is a very common disease. But its increasing prevalence, paired with metabolic conditions like diabetes or obesity, is definitely concerning. Here’s what you need to know.

It pairs up with other metabolic syndromes

One important aspect you should know about NAFLD is that it’s a type of metabolic syndrome. It’s in the same class as the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Insulin resistance (pre-diabetes)
  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Elevated blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides)
  • High blood pressure

As such, NAFLD tends to develop in people who already have these conditions. It can also develop in individuals who experience rapid weight loss and have poor eating habits. Obesity, in particular, is considered the most common cause of fat buildup on the liver.

Research published by the British Society of Gastroenterology found an association between the severity of NAFLD cases and the severity of other existing metabolic syndromes. Simply put, patients who have more metabolic risk factors like those listed above have a bigger chance of developing NASH and fibrosis.

Other risk factors for NAFLD include cardiovascular diseases and any other conditions associated with insulin resistance, such as type 2 diabetes and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

You should know your risk for NAFLD

According to Wynne Armand, M.D. from Harvard Health System, NAFLD now affects roughly 20-40% of the US population. Out of that percentage, 10-30% will have NASH. 25-40% of those NASH patients will develop progressive liver fibrosis with a 20-30% chance of resulting in cirrhosis.

People between the ages of 40 and 49 are found to have the highest rate of NAFLD cases. NAFLD is also considered to be the primary cause of liver disease in kids under the age of 18. These statistics become doubly serious for people who are at risk of obesity and diabetes.

NAFLD has also been linked to genetic variations called polymorphisms, with Native American men and Hispanics being at a higher risk of developing the disease.

If you know you are at risk for NAFLD based on genetic variations or pre-existing metabolic syndromes and/or cardiovascular diseases, don’t hesitate to get checked for NAFLD. Early detection will lead to an easier reversal of fatty liver.

NAFLD can be reversed

Most doctors and scientists agree that most effective cure for NAFLD is condition reversal. It’s simple: how you ate and moved caused the buildup of fat on your liver. Reversing that buildup would be through the same way. In short, the most effective treatment for NAFLD only involves a series of healthier lifestyle changes.

At WholeBody Solutions, we provide a holistic and natural approach to health and well-being. Continue reading to find several lifestyle choices and organic options that can help you control and reverse fat buildup in your liver.

The best cure: exercise and healthy meals

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As with other metabolic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, controlling or preventing NAFLD involves increased exercise and eating a balanced diet. These activities can lead to healthy weight loss and NAFLD reversal.

How do you get to a better weight?

If you have a body mass index (BMI) above 25, losing weight is essential in reversing fatty liver. Just losing 5% of your body weight can show decreased liver fat and heightened improvements in abnormal liver tests.

Losing 7%-10% of your body weight triggers positive enzyme changes in your liver. This can decrease the inflammation and injury to your liver cells and even reverse some of the damage from fibrosis.

So how do you do it? Aerobic exercises like jogging or jump rope is the best way to lose fat in the liver and lessen inflammation independent of weight loss. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services strongly suggests 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week, supplemented by strength training if possible.

How do you improve your diet?

To have a liver-friendly and well-balanced food intake, here are five rules you need to follow in your diet plan:

  • Avoid high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and refined sugars. Fructose is your liver’s number one enemy. It’s the main driver of high fat accumulation and inflammation in the organ. Refined sugars also worsen insulin resistance and raise blood sugar levels. Therefore, cut soda, juice, and other sugary beverages from your diet.
  • Gain “good” fats. When you lose weight, you have to replace it with nutritious “fat” like monounsaturated fats and omega-3 acids. The former helps with liver metabolism and abdominal fat tissue, while the latter reduces fat content in the liver. Great sources of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 acids include olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and flax and chia seeds. Pair them with anti-inflammatory food like low-sugar fruit, vegetables, nuts, and lean animal protein (chicken and fish).
  • Stay away from salty snacks. There are two reasons why eating salty or high-sodium food can lead to a fatty liver. First, salty food like chips and fast food are usually fat and higher calorie foods as well. Second, excessive salt consumption can result in the dysregulation of the renin-angiotensin system, a key factor in the development of NAFLD.
  • Add detoxifying foods to your diet. This includes green vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, and others. Incorporate garlic and onions, which are sulfur-rich and can reduce insulin resistance and inflammation. Detoxifying your body with these vegetables can lead to better lipid oxidation and metabolism.
  • Balance with protein. Protein-rich food like nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, and chicken are key players to a balanced blood sugar and insulin. Not only can they help you cut back on cravings, but they can also provide your liver with detoxifying nutrients. For vegans, organic tofu is rich in soy protein and is known to improve liver function. Throw in some almond milk for that much-needed calcium and vitamin D.

Help your body heal with natural treatments

alternative medicine

Each body is different. And when it comes to health conditions like NAFLD, there is no clear-cut method that fits everybody. While some people gain a good response from the general prescription of good diet and exercise, most of us have bodies that need extra support and nutrition.

This is where a natural and holistic approach to health and wellness is needed. Improving your body’s metabolism and detoxification processes is key to effectively reversing NAFLD and fatty liver. It can also help you avoid other risk factors like obesity and diabetes.

Here are some naturopathic supplements and treatment programs that I highly recommend:

Antioxidants like black cumin seed

Black cumin seed (Nigella sativa) is also known as the “seed of blessing.” It’s been used for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of afflictions.

In Ayurvedic herbal practices, black cumin seed has been traditionally used to nurture healthy digestive and liver functions, improve metabolism of fat, relieve mild bloating and flatulence, and provide antioxidant activity.

Antioxidants, according to this study, have therapeutic potential for NAFLD by mitigating and reducing oxidative stress on the liver.

An easy source of antioxidants is Black Cumin Seed Forte. One tablet contains a whole plant extract of Black Cumin Seed, including a range of constituents that include fixed oil, proteins, alkaloids, saponins, and essential oils. It’s usually taken once a day with food.

Support your metabolic activity

To better improve your metabolism, take Metabol Complex. It contains fenugreek, black cumin seed, bitter melon, and cinnamon. All of these ingredients can provide multi-action metabolic support to your intake of Black Cumin Seed Forte. The recommended intake for Metabol Complex is three times a day unless you’re directed otherwise.

Here are other all-natural supplements that can give you additional liver function support and metabolic boosts:

  • Livton® Complex: This helps maintain healthy liver function by aiding in the elimination of normal toxin accumulation in the liver. Livton® Complex contains globe artichoke, dandelion root, milk thistle, fringe tree, and bupleurum.
  • Turmeric Forte: With the key ingredient of turmeric and fenugreek seed, this can promote a healthy inflammation response, support antioxidant activity, and aid your liver function and digestion.
  • Vitanox: With grape seed, green tea, turmeric, and rosemary, Vitanox can add an extra boost to your antioxidant activity, maintain cellular health, and aid with healthy liver function.

Detoxify with SP Detox Balance

Our bodies produce internal waste toxins every day. It’s a normal process. But it becomes a problem when we encounter unavoidable external toxins and chemicals outside the body. These can overburden our system’s natural ability to detoxify.

Toxin buildup can lead to a host of problems that can lead to, or worsen a case of, NAFLD. This includes fatigue, sleeping problems, indigestion, weight gain, and joint discomfort.

WholeBody Solutions provides a 10-day and 28-day SP Detox Balance program that can promote metabolic detoxification, a series of natural biochemical processes that clears the toxins from our bodies. At the same time, it provides you with the nutrition you need during the process, such as significant amounts of protein, key amino acids, fiber, magnesium, and other vital nutrients.

Build your body’s defense against NAFLD

happy female runner

An ounce of prevention will always be worth more than a pound of cure. Even if you aren’t at risk of having NAFLD or NASH, it’s best to keep your liver happy and healthy by doing the following:

  • Avoid alcohol. While it’s okay to have a drink once in a while like a glass of wine, too much alcohol can contribute to fat accumulation and damage in the liver. Remember to always drink moderately if you can’t avoid it.
  • Check your medicine and keep up to date with your vaccinations. It’s best to check if your medications, herbs, and supplements are potentially toxic to your liver using this list. You can also get vaccinated against viruses like hepatitis A and B, which directly attack your liver.
  • Get enough sleep. According to The Sleep Foundation, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. This is important because lack of sleep can worsen any developing liver problems by diminishing oxygen supply to the liver. Additionally, rest is important in reducing stress, a contributing factor to liver diseases.
  • Drink a lot of water. Dehydration can have negative effects on the liver. To avoid this, you should drink at least half an ounce of water for every pound of body weight you have every day.
  • Stay persistent and consistent. Preventing, reversing, or even curing fatty liver boils down to two things: persistence and consistency. Losing or maintaining healthy body weight requires consistent exercise and diet. It also takes persistence to avoid tempting foods and activities that can lead to fatty liver.

Live a healthier lifestyle today

WholeBody Solutions is a holistic wellness center that approaches health and well-being through safe, effective, and natural ways. I’m Dr. Ann Doggett, a nutritionist and chiropractic doctor. Our goal is to help people live a healthier lifestyle through personalized holistic health services and natural supplements.

Start your holistic and natural health journey today with our 10-day and 28-day detoxification program. You can ask me for more details about the detoxifying process program by contacting us here. Feel free to browse our website for more information about our other products and services.