Fatty Liver Disease
So when things start going wrong with your liver, you can sure expect your health and other functions tied into the liver to decline with them…one of them being your ability to burn fat. The liver is an amazing organ (and one you cannot do without) but is not indestructible. Once overwhelmed it will start malfunction with impaired enzyme production (key for thyroid, protein utilization and fat burning), bile development and maintaining hormonal balances (estrogen in control). If you are experiencing weight gain (and trouble losing weight), bloating, high blood pressure, fatigue or high cholesterol, these could just be a few indications that your liver is being overwhelmed and needs your help!
Fat Burning Metabolism Running Strong
A healthy liver with help you burn and discard of excess fat…a compromised one will slow down that process. Also the liver is tied into the function of the thyroid and its hormones (which regulate full body metabolism), namely in the conversion of T4 to T3. Here’s just a little more science for those that like the nerdy stuff:
Thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3) are essential for normal organ growth, development and function. These hormones regulate the basal metabolic rate of all cells, including hepatocytes, and thereby modulate hepatic function; the liver in turn metabolizes the thyroid hormones and regulates their systemic endocrine effects.
The conversion of T4 to T3 in extra thyroidal tissue occurs through a rapidly equilibrating pool via the D1 enzyme system and a slowly equilibrating pool via the D2 system. The type 1 deiodinase is mainly found in the liver and kidney, 18 and accounts for approximately 30–40% of extra thyroidal production of T3.
The relationship between the thyroid gland and the liver; Centre for Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Royal Free Campus, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, UK
What Can Go Wrong?
Today, an increasingly common disorder is known as “Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease”. The Mayo Clinic describes the various stages of NAFLD as:
So we can start to have a buildup of fat (which is not harmful instantly…but leads to), the next stage is increased inflammation…and finally internal tissue scaring (full blown liver disease). Sadly these are conditions that build up due to what we expose our body and liver to.
What Causes a Fatty Liver?
The largest issue is the storage of too much bodyfat (aka obesity). As you gain more fat (especially around the abdominal…the old “pot belly”), you will also increase all your risks for getting a fatty liver.
What else? How about a buildup of excess fructose in our diets (high fructose corn syrup and sugar)…that builds up in our liver, forms fatty deposits and takes us down the road of potential long term damage.
In the past, fructose was considered beneficial to diabetics because it is absorbed only 40 percent as quickly as glucose and causes only a modest rise in blood sugar. However, research on other hormonal factors suggests that fructose actually promotes disease more readily than glucose. Glucose is metabolized in every cell in the body but all fructose must be metabolized in the liver. The livers of test animals fed large amounts of fructose develop fatty deposits and cirrhosis, similar to problems that develop in the livers of alcoholics. http://www.westonaprice.org/modernfood/highfructose.html
What else you may ask? How about excessive sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and omega-6 fatty acids? You can probably also add pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and environmental toxins to the list as well since anything coming into the body is handled by the liver.
Both experimental and epidemiological studies have shown that dietary linoleic acid (polyunsaturated Omega 6 fatty acid) is required for the development of alcoholic liver damage. Animals fed tallow and ethanol had no liver injury, but even 0.7% or 2.5% linoleic acid with ethanol caused fatty liver, necrosis, and inflammation.
Sadly it also seems that as childhood obesity is on the rise…so is the potential for long term liver damage with our overweight children.
In a new and disturbing twist on the obesity epidemic, some overweight teenagers have severe liver damage caused by too much body fat, and a handful have needed liver transplants. Many more may need a new liver by their 30s or 40s, say experts warning that pediatricians need to be more vigilant. Quote from MSNBC story on Childhood Obesity.
The Good News, You can Turn things Around
Here are some tips to take into action to help get the liver working optimally (taking the load/stress off it and letting it clean things up…think of it like a messy/dirty house, how are you expected to get it cleaned up if you keep throwing more dirty clothes and junk all over the place?)
Remove hydrogenated oils from your diet (fried foods, baked good), namely excess Poly-unsaturated Fats (PUFAs) Omega 6.
The quality of fat you eat has a very large influence on health, and especially on the liver. Excess omega-6 is damaging to the liver. This type of fat is found primarily in refined seed oils such as corn oil, soybean oil, and safflower oil… Sugar is also a primary contributor to fatty liver. Reducing your sugar intake will go a long way toward reversing it. Omega-3 fats also help reverse fatty liver if an excess of omega-6 is present. There was a clinical trial using fish oil that was quite effective. You might try taking 1/2 teaspoon of fish oil per day.
Yellow cooking oils which remain liquid at room temperatures are usually high in Omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. These seed based oils go by many names, including: corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, and others. Do not cook with these oils, and don’t eat food prepared in them when you go out to eat. And lastly, don’t eat any processed and pre-packaged foods which contain them in their various forms. Instead, try replacing these oils with more traditional fats like coconut oil, ghee, or real olive oil.Conventionally raised livestock eat a diet unnaturally high in corn and soy — whether it be cows, chickens, pigs, turkey, or even some farmed fish. Because of this, the foods these animals produce is unnaturally high in Omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and — in some cases — devoid of any Omega 3 fats with which to balance them out. Avoid any animal products from animals fed these unnatural diets. If you eat fish, meat, eggs, and dairy (which you should!), you’ll want to stick to grass-fed, pastured, or wild animals.
from Food Renegade on Keys to Liver Health
Remove all concentrated sugars, including white & brown sugars, agave nectar, honey, and high-fructose corn syrup. Which can be found in processed foods, sodas and other foods “made by man”.
Try adding Omega 3 Fish Oil to help combat any inflammation issues (and imbalances with excess omega 6s).
Lose the excess weight (eat less and move more…simplest way to put it)
Remove/reduce stressors to the liver including alcohol, caffeine, and unnecessary drugs/medications* (*Important note, always check with your doctor before deciding to reduce or stop taking any drug that you are on…while reducing and eventually removing them is a good goal, work with your doctor so there are not any serious negative side effects in the process. I am not a doctor and not a professional substitute for one)
Try a “Fruit elimination” period for several weeks to reduce the amount of fructose coming in. An elimination diet means you can always add it back in later on…but remember that fruit is meant to be “seasonal”.
Fasting can help the body to naturally clean up and detox…so using intermittent fasting as a lifestyle tool is a good way to start out.
Clean up the environment around you trying to remove as many chemicals as possible which can include:
Start to really look around and clean up your daily environment. More and more chemicals that you are exposed to even on small levels is not going to help you long term.
Taken from the Break Free Life ebook.
Milk Thistle has been widely “touted” to be of benefit for liver healing in the natural healing community.So there you have it…be kind to your liver and your metabolism will thank you. On the flip side, treat your liver like an amusement park and you will suffer the consequences over time. Eat real natural foods, as clean as you can. Live clean and get plenty of fresh air. It’s a simple message…now go live it!
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