Case study: Fatty liver and pancreatitis combined
Brian was a 43 year old man who came to see me for help with his liver and pancreas. A month before seeing me he had been diagnosed with acute pancreatitis.
One evening after dinner he experienced excruciating pain, nausea and sweating. He was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with pancreatitis. At the same time, Brian discovered he also has a fatty liver and sludge in his gallbladder.
He came to see me because he wanted to overcome the fatty liver, but he was even more concerned about his pancreas. I don’t blame him; acute pancreatitis is a very serious condition and can be fatal.
Brian was ready to make several changes to his diet. He had felt unwell for many years and he’d had enough. Brian suffered with terrible digestive problems; he was on two different acid blocking drugs to control the dreadful heartburn he experienced. These drugs did not completely resolve his symptoms. He also felt terribly bloated and nauseous for most of the day.
Brian had read my book Fatty Liver: You Can Reverse It before coming to see me, so he had already reduced the amount of grains and sugar he was eating. However, he wanted to know which specific foods he should eat to help his pancreas.
Brian was only around 20 pounds overweight but the weight was held across his upper abdomen, which is the most dangerous area to carry excess fat. I refer to this as a “liver roll”. The sonogram report described his liver condition as “early fatty infiltration of the liver”. This was a good sign and meant it probably won’t take many months to reverse the fatty liver.
I was not surprised to discover there is sludge in Brian’s gallbladder. This means the bile in his gallbladder has become excessively thick and concentrated and is a precursor to gallstones. Many people with a fatty liver go on to develop gallbladder disease.
Brian loves beer and the doctor at the hospital thought his acute episode of pancreatitis was probably due to excessive alcohol intake, combined with chronic inflammation of his liver. The pancreas lies very close to many other abdominal organs and pancreatitis can be triggered by inflammation in nearly any nearby organ. Brian also loved all sorts of high carbohydrate foods – bread, pizza and mashed potatoes were his favorites, but he realized they would have to go if he wanted to get well.
The carbohydrate rich foods were a problem because they were rapidly digested into sugar, which his liver promptly converted into fat; creating fatty liver disease. The second problem with them is the gluten content. Removing gluten from the diet is a very reliable way to significantly reduce or completely eliminate digestive problems such as bloating, reflux and indigestion. Brian also suffered with joint pain, particularly in his knees, which is another typical symptom of gluten intolerance.
My recommendations for Brian
- I asked Brian to follow the eating plan in my book Fatty Liver: You Can Reverse It. This meant he needed to avoid grains, sugar and starches. Instead he would have to base his diet on vegetables, protein and good fats. Suitable types of protein include poultry, seafood, eggs and meat (preferably pastured). Suitable good fats include extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nut oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, pastured butter or ghee and animal fats such as lard.
- Brian had stopped drinking beer completely for a month after the episode of acute pancreatitis because he was terrified of experiencing a recurrence. He asked me if he was able to reintroduce some beer into his diet. Most beer is very much like soda and really doesn’t do your body any favors. He would get faster results from my treatment plan if he avoided all beer, but some people feel they cannot avoid all alcohol, so I left the decision up to him.
- I asked Brian to take my liver tonic Livatone Plus. This is a powerful formula that helps to reduce inflammation in the liver and can even help to repair damaged liver cells. This formula would also help to make his bile more fluid, thereby reducing the sludge in his gallbladder.
- I asked Brian to include apple cider vinegar in his diet. The natural acids in the vinegar would help to thin the bile in his gallbladder, thus helping to prevent stones. Apple cider vinegar also improves nutrient absorption and reduces bloating after meals. I asked him to dissolve one tablespoon of vinegar in ¼ cup of warm water and drink it 5 minutes before lunch and dinner.
- I gave Brian an MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane) supplement to support detoxification in his liver and reduce the joint pain he experienced in his knees. I asked him to take ½ teaspoon twice daily with meals.
- We needed to clean up the toxins in Brian’s bowel. He had an overgrowth of bad microorganisms in his intestines, which were making him bloated and uncomfortable after eating, and aggravating the reflux. I gave him Intestinal Parasite Cleanse capsules.
- Brian also needed glutamine to soothe and heal the inflamed tissue of his esophagus and entire digestive tract, from years of suffering with reflux. Glutamine provides nourishment to the cells lining our entire digestive tract and helps to repair inflammatory damage. You can find Glutamine in my Ultimate Gut Health powder.
I have been seeing Brian every 4 weeks for the past 3 months and he has made remarkable progress. The health scare he received really motivated him to make significant changes to his diet and lifestyle. He has lost 14 pounds, sleeps much better and has so much more energy each day. This has inspired him to take up bike riding on weekends. Brian has 3 very young children and he is determined to set a good example for them, and more importantly he wants to be around to see them grow up.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.