Inspired living

Fatty liver disease: non-drinkers suffer too

An overweight man at risk of fatty liver

Fatty liver disease is not only a disease associated with too much alcohol. There are now even young children who have been found to have this disease, a situation often due to poor nutrition and too many kilojoules in their daily diet. This is a side effect of our overweight population and overweight children who’re being brought up on takeaway foods. Many people who are overweight and those that suffer from type 2 diabetes also suffer from fatty liver, sometimes without realising it.

Fatty liver disease not caused by alcohol can develop in two stages. Fat, usually from free fatty acids that have been released into the blood by fatty tissue, accumulates in the liver. The cause of this can be the poor diet with high fat or high sugar content. Fructose or sugar also releases carbohydrates which overload the liver or the liver takes up chylomicron remnants, and all these lead to an over accumulation of fat in the liver. Add to this the other toxins that our liver needs to metabolise these days and pretty soon we become good candidates for fatty liver disease.

Inflammation is often the cause of many illnesses and your levels of inflammation can be tested by a hair or saliva test.

If there is a lack of fat-soluble antioxidants in the body as well, this results in too many polyunsaturated fatty acids and oxidative stress, which can then bring about the second stage of fatty liver disease: an inflammation response. Inflammation is often the cause of many illnesses and your levels of inflammation can be tested by a hair or saliva test, which will tell you your pH balance and whether your system is too acidic. If you  have an acidic body, then you have inflammation, often a forerunner for such illnesses as heart disease, arthritis and even cancer, just to name a few. Your naturopath can tell you about the acidity of your body and how to lower inflammation by eating foods to which you are not allergic or sensitive. Since many of us don’t have a balance of omega-6s or omega-3s in our diets, this second stage of inflammation can affect the liver in a detrimental way and lead to liver failure or even cancer.

What to do about fatty liver

A healthy liver stops fat accumulating but it needs enough lecithin and choline to do so. It uses these substances to send the stored fat to the proper tissues. It needs methionine to do this. Methionine is found in meat, fish and dairy products and is important to prevent liver damage. Organic liver, eggs and wheat germ are a good source of choline but we may have cut down on these due to our cholesterol issues. Choline, however, is available as a supplement and is also important in other metabolic processes. Its deficiency can lead to poor health, so it becomes important to take lecithin to protect the liver. Lecithin is also helpful if you are overweight or your cholesterol is high. A diet high in oats and low in fat will also assist in controlling your weight, cholesterol and fatty liver. If you have fatty liver, it’s a good idea to consult a natural therapist who can put you on the right track with diet and supplements.



Jenetta Haim runs Stressfree Management at 36 Gipps Road, Greystanes, and specialises in assisting your health and lifestyle in all areas by developing programs on either a corporate or personal level to suit your needs. Jenetta has just published a book called Stress-Free Health Management, A Natural Solution for Your Health available from your favourite bookstore or online. For more information and to get in touch, visit her website.