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Dr. Beth’s Top Picks for Fatty Liver Disease
Beth Ley Knotts, Ph.D. (Nutritionist)
Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Your liver is an essential organ with multiple life-supporting functions. The liver:
    Produces bile, which helps digest fats and carry away waste.
    Removes toxins, cleans and purifies the blood. It is our detox organ. The liver filters all of the blood in the body and breaks down poisonous substances, such as alcohol and drugs.
    Makes proteins for the body.
    Stores iron.
    Converts nutrients into energy.
    Stores vitamins and minerals: The liver stores significant amounts of vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12, as well as iron and copper.
    Creates substances that help your blood clot (stick together to heal wounds).
    Helps you resist infections by making immune factors and removing bacteria and toxins (substances that can harm your body) from your blood.
    Processes glucose: The liver removes excess glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream and stores it as glycogen. As needed, it can convert glycogen back into glucose.

Fatty liver disease, also known as hepatic steatosis, is a condition where excess fat builds up in the liver and can interfere with liver function. There may be few symptoms. Occasionally there may be fatigue or pain in the upper right side of the abdomen. Complications may include cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver cancer, and esophageal varices (enlarged veins in the esophagus).

As an increasing amount of fat is stored in the liver, the organ's expanding weight and size cause it to push against surrounding tissue. Both the spleen and the liver play a key role in detoxifying the body. When they do not function properly, the risk of infection significantly increases. The enlargement of the spleen and liver may occur together, or separately.

There are two types of fatty liver disease: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and alcoholic liver disease.

Liver Anatomy

Symptoms include:

* Weight gain, especially around the belly

* Difficulty losing weight with diet changes and exercise.

* Bloating after eating

* Back pain

* Abdominal pain or a feeling of fullness in the upper right side of the abdomen (belly).

Untreated, this may progress to include:

* Nausea, loss of appetite or weight loss.

* Yellowish skin/whites of the eyes (jaundice).

* Swollen abdomen and legs (edema).

* Extreme tiredness or mental confusion.

* Weakness.

* Difficulty sleeping

* Dry skin/itching

* Acne

* Gall stones

* Elevated Triglycerides
High triglycerides are one of the most common signs of fatty liver disease. Normally, these lipids are stored in fat cells and used for energy. When there is too much fat in the blood, it is not metabolized properly; the body stores the excess in the liver, which leads to fatty liver disease. Plasma triglycerides greater than 200 mg/dL fall in the high range, while a reading greater than 500 mg/dL is very high

* Indigestion
Fatty liver disease causes indigestion, which can be exacerbated by blocked stomach acid. The liver's function is to eliminate toxins from the body. Because fatty liver disease impairs its ability to do so, this waste builds up, resulting in GERD, nausea, and unexplained vomiting. Someone experiencing indigestion symptoms who does not associate it with liver disease may take over-the-counter medications for relief. Research shows that trying to ease stomach acidity can lead to intestinal bacteria overgrowth, causing inflammation, more digestive symptoms, and further liver damage.

What causes fatty liver disease?

Some people get fatty liver disease without having any pre-existing conditions. But these risk factors make you more likely to develop it:

    Being obese or overweight.
    Having Type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance.
    Having metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels).
    Taking certain prescription medications, such as amiodarone (Cordarone®), diltiazem (Cardizem®), tamoxifen (Nolvadex®) or steroids.
Hispanics, Asians and postmenopausal woman are at a higher risk to develop fatty liver disease.

Because fatty liver disease often has no symptoms, your doctor may be the first one to spot it. Higher levels of liver enzymes (elevated liver enzymes) that turn up on a blood test for other conditions may raise a red flag. Elevated liver enzymes are a sign your liver is injured.

The good news is that there are things you can do to support liver health and get those elevated liver enzymes back to normal.

1. Reduce alcohol intake

2. Do not overeat

3. Eat a whole food diet, reducing intake of processed foods, especially GM foods.

4. Slowly lose weight

5. Milk Thistle
The Siilymarin in Milk thistle has a well established research history to support the liver as a powerful liver detoxifier. It helps rebuild liver cells while removing toxins from the body that are processed through the liver. Milk thistle is effective at naturally reversing the harmful effects of alcohol consumption, pesticides in our food supply, heavy metals in our water supply, pollution in the air that we breathe in and even poisons!

6. CuraPro
This high potency product contains 250 mg of curcuminoids from curcumin per softgel. It is 500 times more powerful than turmeric. CuraPro protects cells from oxidative stress and free radicals and is anti-inflammatory. Research suggests that curcumin promotes healthy levels of the body’s own detoxifiers, such as glutathione and superoxide dismutase.

7. Pantethine
Pantethine is excellent to help clear up fatty liver problems as well as hypertriglyceridemia. As a precursor to Coenzyme A, a necessary component of the lipid catabolic process, pantethine would be a logical addition to lipid lowering regimens. Interestingly, pantethine has been shown to lower triglycerides and LDL while increasing HDL by a mechanism other than the coenzyme A portion of the molecule.Pantethine is thought to inhibit cholesterol synthesis as well as accelerate fatty acid break down in the mitochondria.
In a study conducted in Japan, 600 mg/day of pantethine was administered to 16 outpatients with fatty liver and hypertriglyceridemia. Nine of the 16-pantethine patients were no longer diagnosed as having fatty liver after the study period.

8. Methyl form of B vitamins.
BioActive B Complex is easy on the liver as it does not require the work of the liver to convert into the needed form for the body to use.