Do You Have A Fatty Pancreas?

Fatty liver has reached epidemic proportions, with one in four people in most western nations affected. Fatty pancreas is also on the rise, and can have deadly consequences. It doesn’t receive anywhere near as much attention, but it should. If you have a problem with your pancreas you must act now, before it’s too late.

An interesting review article recently appeared in the British Medical Journal called Non-alcoholic fatty pancreas disease. To quote the article, fatty pancreas “appears to arise as obesity progresses and after an initial phase of pancreatic hypertrophy and hyperplasia, fatty infiltration becomes apparent. Various studies have demonstrated that non-alcoholic fatty pancreas disease may exacerbate the severity of acute pancreatitis, promote pancreatic dysfunction associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, and even have links to the development of pancreatic carcinoma, and therefore, it must be investigated in further detail”.

Fatty pancreas tends to develop in overweight people who have syndrome X (insulin resistance). It often goes hand in hand with type 2 diabetes. If normal, healthy pancreatic tissue is replaced by fatty tissue, it can no longer manufacture sufficient hormones or digestive enzymes. Frighteningly, fatty pancreas increases the risk of pancreatic cancer. Rates of pancreatic cancer are rising sharply and it is not a very survivable form of cancer in most instances.

The pancreas is an organ that lies horizontally across the back of the upper abdomen behind the stomach. The pancreas manufactures the body’s supply of insulin, which controls blood sugar levels and fat metabolism. Insulin is released from the pancreas directly into the blood stream. Insulin blood levels rise after a meal, especially if it contains a lot of carbohydrate.

If the insulin producing cells in the pancreas fail, diabetes will occur and insulin injections are required.

The pancreas also manufactures enzymes and secretes them into the pancreatic duct which empties into the small intestine to enable digestion of food. The enzymes produced by the pancreas include lipases that digest fat, proteases which digest proteins, and amylases which digest starch molecules. People with pancreatic problems often find they suffer with digestive conditions such as bloating and indigestion. Taking a digestive enzymes supplement can be very helpful.

Having a fatty pancreas also raises the risk of suffering with pancreatitis. The term pancreatitis refers to inflammation of the pancreas, and this may be sudden, severe and life threatening, or chronic and intermittent. Pancreatitis usually produces pain in the upper abdomen, which often spreads deeper into the back. The pain can vary from mild and grumbling, to sudden and excruciating, and is usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Anyone who has had an episode of pancreatitis desperately wants to avoid one in the future.

How to help your pancreas

If you have been diagnosed with a fatty pancreas, had elevated pancreatic enzymes on a blood test, or suffered with pancreatitis, the following should help:

  • Eat smaller meals and make sure to chew thoroughly and eat slowly.
  • Follow a diet low in carbohydrates – this means you need to reduce sugar, processed breakfast cereals, bread, pastries, pasta, muffins, cookies and cakes and anything which contains flour or sugar. See the low carb eating plan in the book I Can’t Lose Weight and I Don’t Know Why.
  • Avoid excess alcohol and stick to no more than one standard alcoholic drink a day.
  • Avoid deep fried foods and industrial seed oils, which are found in processed packaged foods.
  • Take vitamin C 1,000mg daily to reduce inflammation.
  • Take a good liver tonic containing St Mary’s Thistle, Selenium, Taurine and B vitamins, such as LivaTone Plus.
  • Take a supplement of N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) to increase glutathione production, as this will help to reduce inflammation in the pancreas. The dose of NAC is one to two 600mg capsules, twice a day. Combine NAC with a supplement of selenium in a dose of 150 to 300 mcg daily, as this will boost glutathione levels which has a huge anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Start to drink raw juices – good things to juice are citrus fruits, apple, carrot, cabbage, kale, ginger, celery, mint and parsley. Drink 200 to 300mls of raw juice twice daily. Make the juice fresh every day or make a week’s supply of juice and freeze it in glass jars immediately after making it. You can find juice recipes in my book Raw Juices Can Save Your Life.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.