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How to know if you have a fatty liver

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.


  1. Hi,

    I have all of these symptoms mentioned above. Infact, the reason, I googled about fatty liver, because i am totally shocked to see my ideal triglyceride level 60 from few years back to constantly rise , now 170. I am struggling with lots of other stuff, major being heart palpitations, muscle twitches, throbing and palps everywhere, tons of food sensitivities. Worst part is i am not able to eat most of the foods, still putting on weight. Now i have done ultrasound, everything looked normal, liver enzymes instead of rise are below normal range. Along with high triglyceride, I have low blood pressure, so always cold. I know my body is not metabolizing food, so i don’t have fuels and also, it is being stored as triglyceride, but what is causing it, liver/pancreas, I don’t know. I can start liver supplement, but what do you suggest?

    • Dear Inom,

      In consideration of your entire email, many of your symptoms are indicative of an underactive thyroid.

      Speak to your medial practitioner and have Thyroid Function Tests and Thyroid Antibodies tested.

      Your Vitamin D should be at a seasonal high now and it would be beneficial to also have this tested and again in mid-winter to see your seasonal variations.

      When you have the results please send me an email at victoriat@cabothealth.com.au for further information and supplement suggestions

      Kind Regards,
      Victoria Taylor

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