By Shanmugam Asst CMO, Jindal Naturecure Institute
The liver is the largest organ inside the body that helps digestion of food, energy storage, and removal of toxic substances. Fatty liver disease happens to be a condition where excess fat deposits inside the liver. The fatty deposits interfere with the liver’s normal functioning and slow down the process of bile and insulin production necessary for various body functions. Excess amounts of fat in the liver can be worrisome, which can lead to permanent scarring and ultimately leading to liver failure.
Types of Fatty Liver Disease
There are two types of fatty liver disease – Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is further categorised into 2 types – Simple Fatty Liver and Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH). In the case of NASH, the inflammation of the liver can lead to cancer or cirrhosis. On the other hand, Alcoholic Steatohepatitis is a condition that results from excessive consumption of alcohol. The liver releases toxic substances while breaking down alcohol which damages the organ’s cells and causes inflammation. Though globally, 25% of the adult population is affected by NAFLD, the prevalence rate is 9% to 32% in India.
Symptoms of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Individuals of all age groups can be affected by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. But, it is commonly observed in people within the age group of 40-50 who have certain pre-existing conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, PCOS, sleep apnea, and metabolic syndrome. Usually, NAFLD doesn’t cause any symptoms; however, those with any of the above condition/s can experience enlarged spleen, abdominal swelling, enlarged blood vessels, yellowing of the skin and eyes, and red palms.
Naturopathic Treatment for Fatty Liver Disease
Naturopathic treatment encourages NASH patients to manage their comorbidities through various lifestyle changes, diet and supplements. Naturopathy recognises that every individual is different and requires a different treatment option. Here we look at some of the staples in a naturopathic treatment plan to deal with fatty liver disease.
Those with fatty liver disease must include plenty of organic fruits and green leafy vegetables in the diet. Proper nutrition can increase antioxidants and lessen the oxidative stress in the body leading to better health. If possible, it is always a good idea to opt for GMO-free (genetically modified organisms free) and organic products. If there is insulin resistance, one should also stay away from sugars.
A study published in the ‘Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics’ journal stated that daily exercise effectively reverses NAFLD. One can opt for exercise like yoga, running, cycling, swimming, etc., to maintain a healthy weight and stay fit. Regular exercise reduces fatty acid synthesis, increases fatty acid oxidation and prevents hepatocellular and mitochondrial damage.
Avoid Salted and Fried Foods
High in calories and fats, fried foods can make it a tough job for the liver to deal with them. With increased calorie intake, the chances of putting on weight also increases. Obese people are more at risk of developing fatty liver disease. The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry has published a study stating that too much sodium harms the liver. Excess of sodium in the diet can lower cell division and increase cell deaths in the liver, which can cause liver fibrosis.
There are plenty of simple ingredients in everyday use that can bring positive outcomes and enhance the healing process of damaged liver.
Curcumin present in turmeric helps protect the liver cells from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) when appropriately administered.
Cinnamon has strong anti-inflammatory properties that are effective in bringing down the inflammation in the liver.
- Indian Gooseberry
Amla or Indian Gooseberry is stuffed with antioxidants and Vitamin C that protects the liver from damage and cleans the toxins.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
When it comes to home remedies, apple cider vinegar is a preferred choice since it has amazing detoxification properties. Apple Cider Vinegar works by helping the liver flush out the toxins that can interfere with the body’s normal functioning.
When the body is well-hydrated, the toxins are easily removed from the body and blood flow is also improved. Daily 10-12 glasses of water are necessary to keep the body adequately hydrated.