"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Slim on fatty liver

The liver is the biggest internal organ in your body. About the dimensions of a football and weighing about 3 kilos, the liver performs greater than 500 functions. Some of its every day functions include producing cholesterol, making bile to assist digest fats, and filtering deadly toxins from the blood. (Also, the liver carries a couple of portion of your body's blood supply at any given time.)

Despite its prowess, the liver isn't invulnerable to disease. One of its biggest risks is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), probably the most common liver disease worldwide.

Diabetes and obesity are vital risk aspects for every type of fatty liver disease. In fact, about 75% of individuals with one or each of those conditions have some type of NAFLD.

Types of NAFLD

NAFLD is an umbrella term that features several types of liver disease. Most individuals with NAFLD have a sort called easy fatty liver, or steatosis—an excess accumulation of fat within the liver that isn't brought on by excessive alcohol consumption, drug unwanted side effects, or genetic disease.

However, as much as 20% of individuals with NAFLD develop inflammation of the liver called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Left unchecked, this more dangerous form can progress to fibrosis (scarring) and possibly cirrhosis (severe scarring and liver damage).

“The exact reasons why some people progress to this stage of inflammation are not known,” says Dr. LeWine. “However, an abnormally large waist size that reflects a high amount of visceral fat — the abdominal fat that surrounds our abdominal organs — appears to be a significant risk factor.”

Simple fatty liver and NASH are sometimes diagnosed not by the looks of symptoms but by an imaging test, similar to an abdominal ultrasound or CT scan, that is finished for another excuse, similar to gallstones.

Other times normal blood work shows abnormal liver values, which often means inflammation is characteristic of NASH. But 50% of individuals with NASH have normal blood tests for liver function.

Primary care physicians now have available, noninvasive methods for identifying people at high risk for NASH and early fibrosis. These include biomarker measurements and scoring systems based on blood tests (similar to the NAFLD fibrosis rating and the Fibrosis-4 index). “The fibrosis-4 index is a simple calculation based on normal blood test results and a person's age,” says Dr. LeWine. “The index provides guidance on treatment and when to consult a liver specialist.”

Another technology, called elastography, uses sound waves to evaluate fibrosis based on liver stiffness.

A heavy problem

There aren't any specific FDA-approved medications for any stage of NAFLD. Therefore, lifestyle changes are the most effective approach.

Because most individuals with NAFLD are chubby or obese, weight management is the No. 1 step people can take to forestall NAFLD and forestall easy fatty liver from turning into NASH, says Dr. LeWine. Weight loss may also protect people from other health risks which can be common in individuals with NAFLD, similar to diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

“Men who are slightly overweight should also watch their weight, as any gradual increase can send them in the wrong direction and increase their risk of NAFLD,” says Dr. LeWine. says Dr. LeWine.

If you're chubby, losing about 5 percent of your body weight could also be enough to scale back liver fat. A lack of between 7% and 10% of body weight can reduce the quantity of inflammation and injury to liver cells, and should even reverse some fibrosis. Aim for gradual weight reduction of 1 to 2 kilos per week. For individuals with diabetes and people who are unable to realize their goal weight, your doctor may prescribe medications known to advertise weight reduction, similar to the GLP-1 agonist semaglutide (Wegovy).

Keep in mind that even people of normal weight can get NAFLD. “Where you have body fat, especially around the abdomen, is also a strong indicator of NAFLD risk,” says Dr. LeWine. One method to measure potential risk is waist size. “The ideal waist size for men is no more than half their height, so a six-foot man should have no more than a 36-inch waist,” says Dr. LeWine.

What you eat, how you progress.

Although any food regimen that promotes weight reduction can assist with NAFLD, a low-calorie Mediterranean-style food regimen is a wonderful selection. This nutrition plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and olive oil. Limit pork; Eat more fatty fish and lean poultry as an alternative. When you're considering which foods so as to add to your food regimen, follow mom's advice to eat your vegetables. A 2020 study found a link between eating a food regimen wealthy in cruciferous vegetables (similar to kale, cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts) and a lower risk of NASH.

Drinking coffee may additionally provide some protection against NAFLD. Some studies have found an association between regular coffee consumption (about three to 4 cups per day) and a lower risk of progression from easy fatty liver to NASH and fibrosis.

Research shows that regular exercise, independent of weight reduction, may also directly help prevent and manage NAFLD. An evaluation within the October 2021 issue Frontiers in Nutrition It found that exercise can reduce fat throughout the body, and particularly visceral fat, the more dangerous deep layer of fat related to liver inflammation.

Research shows that each aerobic and anaerobic exercise (similar to high-intensity interval training and strength training) is nice for individuals with NAFLD. One study found that 20 to 60 minutes of moderate aerobic and anaerobic exercise, performed three to 4 days per week, helped reduce liver fat and reverse liver damage in patients with NASH. Is.

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