I write about fatty liver disease very often – how prevalent it is, how it makes weight loss much more difficult, and how it increases the risk of several serious diseases. Approximately one in five people in the Western world has a fatty liver; how would you know if you’re one of them?
Some people with a fatty liver get unpleasant symptoms like fatigue, abdominal bloating and indigestion, however most people get no symptoms at all. If you carry excess weight over your abdomen, you probably have some degree of fatty liver. Fat doesn’t just sit on the outside; it actually creeps into your internal organs, including your liver.
The most common symptoms of fatty liver disease
• You will probably be overweight, especially in the abdominal area
• You will find it very hard to lose weight
• You may have elevated cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood
• You may have Syndrome X (metabolic syndrome/insulin resistance)
• You may have diabetes type 2
• You will be very tired
• You may have problems with your immune system
Diagnosis of fatty liver
1. Liver function tests
The liver enzymes are often raised and this is usually discovered during a routine blood test. The liver enzymes known as AST and ALT are typically raised above normal levels, and this signifies inflammation and damage to liver cells as a result of fat build up. Usually ALT levels are raised more than AST. For a thorough explanation of liver function tests click here.
2. Ultrasound scan of the abdomen
An ultrasound scan reveals the size, shape and texture of the liver. A fatty liver has an abnormal texture. It is also often enlarged – the enlargement is usually only slight and is a result of the liver cells being swollen with fat. The medical term for an enlarged liver is hepatomegaly.
An ultrasound can show streaks of fat, and sometimes fatty cysts building up in the liver. It can also detect the presence of other liver diseases such as liver tumors.
3. Liver biopsy
This is a very accurate way of diagnosing the severity of fatty liver disease. However, a biopsy has risks and potential complications, so it is usually not necessary.
How to reverse a fatty liver
In the vast majority of cases, fatty liver is entirely reversible. It is possible to clear the fat from within the liver and enable the liver cells to function normally again. This process usually takes between six months and two years. For detailed information about reversing fatty liver see my book Fatty Liver: You Can Reverse It. To support healthy liver cell function, I have formulated Livatone Plus. It contains nutrients required by liver cells for efficient fat burning and detoxification. Livatone Plus helps to support phase 1 and 2 liver detoxification. It’s ingredients include the clinically proven dose of milk thistle, along with selenium, taurine, activated B vitamins and other supportive nutrients.
Increasing the level of glutathione in your body is one of the most powerful ways to reduce liver inflammation. N acetyl cysteine (NAC) is the precursor of glutathione and when taken in supplement form is a highly effective way of raising glutathione. NAC helps to improve fatigue, which is a common symptom of all liver conditions.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.