Treatment for Fatty liver
Treatment for fatty liver is a challenge. No medications have been approved for the treatment of fatty liver disease. In most cases, natural remedies such as acupuncture, homeopathy, and reiki, along with lifestyle changes, weight reduction, and diet changes, can help reverse fatty liver disease.
However, if you have developed complications, you will need additional treatments and sometimes even medical intervention. Treatment for fatty livers can be lifestyle changes, medications, or surgery, depending on the stage of cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can lead to liver failure, for which you might need a liver transplant.
The first line of treatment for fatty liver is usually weight loss through a combination of a healthy diet and exercise. Weight loss addresses the conditions that contribute to NAFLD. Ideally, a 10% body weight loss is desirable, but improvement in risk factors may become apparent if you lose up to 3% to 5% of your initial weight. Weight-loss surgical procedures such as liposuction and bariatric surgery are also an option for those who need to lose weight.
For those with cirrhosis from NASH, liver transplantation may be an option.
The liver is the second-largest organ in your body. It helps process nutrients from food and remove harmful substances from your blood.
Fatty liver disease is a common medical condition that occurs when excess fat accumulates in and around the liver. Almost 20% of Americans have fatty liver disease, and many may not even know it.
The most common causes of fatty liver disease are alcohol and metabolic disorders, such as obesity and diabetes. The latter is nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, typically from eating too much sugar and fat.
Having some fat in your abdomen and around the liver is normal. When fat builds up to more than 5 percent to 10 percent of the liver, it becomes a concern. Though it does not cause immediate alarm, extra fat around the liver can eventually trigger inflammation, fibrosis, and scarring. Excess fat around the liver is also a risk factor for developing cirrhosis, which increases the risk of developing liver cancer.
Under normal conditions, your liver creates optimal nutrition for your body’s 50 trillion odd cells. Different roles played by the liver include:
- Production of bile, which is necessary for proper digestion. Bile salts emulsify the fats and improve digestion. Also, when fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K are dissolved in the bile, they are absorbed better. A good measure of toxic substances is produced in the body daily. Many of these are only fat-soluble. These are dissolved in bile and finally emptied into the intestines to be thrown out as fecal matter. The liver thus helps eliminate toxic byproducts from the body by producing bile.
- The production of many clotting factors and proteins from amino acids is important for every healing, repair, and cell growth process.
- It is the largest storehouse of many vitamins (A, D, K, and B12), iron, and minerals. The liver also converts all the B-complex vitamins into their active forms. The liver transforms each nutrient, whether it be vitamins, minerals, or amino acids, into biologically active forms. Nutrients in foods and supplements are never in their active, absorbable forms. The liver makes them active, thus making them available for body functions.
- The liver has huge stores of energy. It produces glucose from the different sugars in our diet and stores it as glycogen.
- It buffers any major fluctuations in glucose levels by converting glycogens to glucose when glucose levels are low and vice versa when they are high.
- It is vital to remove old, worn-out red blood cells from circulation.
- The thyroid hormone T4 is converted into its more potent form, T3, within the liver.
- The detoxification of the body is a major function. Chemicals, industrial pollutants, metabolic wastes from junk foods, drugs, insecticide residues, alcohol, etc., are some of the dangerous toxins eliminated through our liver.
Types of fatty liver disease
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
- Alcoholic fatty liver disease, also called alcoholic steatohepatitis
What is a nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)?
NAFLD is a type of fatty liver disease unrelated to heavy alcohol use. There are two kinds:
Simple fatty liver, in which you have fat in your liver but little or no inflammation or liver cell damage. The simple fatty liver typically does not get bad enough to cause liver damage or complications.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), in which you have inflammation, liver cell damage, and fat in your liver Inflammation and liver cell damage can cause fibrosis, or scarring, of the liver. NASH may lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer.
What is alcoholic fatty liver disease?
Alcoholic fatty liver disease is due to heavy alcohol use. Your liver breaks down most of the alcohol you drink to remove it from your body. However, the process of breaking it down can generate harmful substances. These substances can damage liver cells, promote inflammation, and weaken your body’s natural defenses. The more alcohol you drink, the more you damage your liver. Alcoholic fatty liver disease is the earliest stage of alcohol-related liver disease. The next stages are alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Symptoms of fatty liver disease
In most cases, you may not experience any fatty liver symptoms, but you may feel tired or experience discomfort or pain in the right upper abdomen. Some people develop liver scarring from long-standing fatty liver disease. Liver scarring is known as liver fibrosis; later, it can cause liver cirrhosis.
Cirrhosis may cause early symptoms like lack of appetite, weight loss, weakness, and fatigue. In the later stage, it can cause jaundice, bloody vomiting, confusion, and disorientation.
However, common symptoms of the fatty liver may include:
- Impaired memory
- Ascites and edema (swelling of the body) due to decreased protein production by the liver,
- Increased bruising
To make a diagnosis, your doctor may order an ultrasound or CT scan to get a clear picture of the liver and the tissues surrounding it.
Causes of fatty liver disease
Fatty liver can be classified as alcohol- or non-alcohol-related. Alcohol is a direct toxin to the liver and can cause inflammation. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic-related steatohepatitis (NASH) are two very different diseases, and both can be caused by fat building up in the liver.
Some of the causes of fatty liver include:
Unhealthy eating habits
Our physical health depends on the kind of food we eat. There has been a drastic change in the selection of food nowadays. Individuals are more focused on eating junk food, high-calorie foods (red meats, sweets, etc.), drinks (carbonated drinks, packed juices, energy drinks, etc.), and alcohol. Such poor dietary habits are one of the many causes of fatty liver disease.
The development of fatty liver is associated with lifestyle diseases such as poor eating habits, physical inactivity, and smoking.
Diseases and ailments
Fatty liver is also associated with type II diabetes, obesity, high triglyceride levels in the blood, celiac disease, and Wilson’s disease (abnormality of copper metabolism).
Rapid weight loss and malnutrition.
NAFLD is linked to medicines like tamoxifen (Soltamox), amiodarone injection (Nestorone), amiodarone oral (Cordarone, Pacerone), and methotrexate (Rheumatrex Dose Pack, Trexall).
There is evidence to suggest the presence of an association between insulin resistance and the development of NAFLD. In this situation, although the body makes adequate insulin, the ability of cells to adequately use that insulin to metabolize glucose is abnormal. The relative excess of glucose is then stored as fat and can accumulate in the liver.
Natural treatment for fatty liver
I, Dr. Tsan, have regularly screened my patients with high normal GGT levels, alone or in combination with high normal or elevated AST and/or ALT levels, using liver ultrasound and have often seen evidence of NAFLD in radiological reports. The patient’s physician typically dismisses this finding as if nothing can be done about it other than weight loss (if indicated).
This is where nutritional and nutraceutical therapies play a huge role—eating a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables (the more varied the colors, the better) and avoiding refined, processed, and charred foods are beneficial. I also recommend that my patients avoid trans fats, saturated fats, nitrates, and high fructose corn syrup. I recommend consuming green tea, fresh fish, and foods supporting the liver. Fish Caution Note: Be aware of mercury and other contaminants in some fresh fish. (The United States Environmental Protection Agency is a great resource on eating safe fish.) Liver-friendly foods include foods high in sulfur, like garlic and onions, and cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. Other nutritious liver-promoting foods include artichokes, turmeric, beets, and green tea.
Diet is an essential part of any natural treatment.
Diet is one of the most effective treatments for fatty livers. The liver helps produce bile, digestive protein, and detoxification in a healthy body. The fatty liver disease damages the liver and prevents it from working normally as it should.
The diet for fatty liver disease includes:
- Fruits and vegetables, reducing calorie intake, and eating high-fiber, natural foods are good starting points. Eating foods containing complex fiber can provide sustained energy and promote satiety; fresh fruits and vegetables are good sources. So, include at least 4 to 5 servings of vegetables and 2 to 3 servings of fruits in your daily diet.
- High-fiber plants like legumes and whole grains: legumes and grains are fatty liver diets that contain fiber, minerals, and a good amount of plant protein, which is very healthy for the liver. Instead of using refined flour and animal protein, one should focus on plant-based proteins. Include whole grains, pulses, and soy in your healthy diet to keep your liver healthy.
Exercise for a Healthy Liver—another important component of natural treatment for fatty liver
Aerobic exercise can cut the amount of fat in your liver. A heavy workout may also lower inflammation. Resistance or strength training exercises, like weight lifting, can also improve fatty liver disease. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes or more of mid-to-high-level aerobic exercise at least five days a week and mid-to-high-level strength training three days a week.
Homeopathic medicines are the #1 natural treatment for fatty liver.
Homeopathic medicine for fatty liver is a natural fatty liver treatment that can reverse the condition of fatty liver and bring it back to normal. Homeopathic medicines are made of natural substances and are given to patients after studying the unique symptoms experienced by each one of them. Homeopathic remedies for a fatty liver are completely safe with no side effects.
Listed below are homeopathic remedies for fatty liver
- This homeopathic remedy for fatty liver treats fatty liver and right upper abdominal pain. In such cases, the liver may be enlarged, and the patient also usually suffers from constipation or experiences nausea and vomiting.
- This natural remedy for fatty liver is used to treat cases of fatty acid, which triggers regurgitation accompanied by sour belching. In some cases, the patient may also experience pain in the liver and excessive flatulence. Vomiting may also occur along with weakness while passing stool.
- Obese patients suffering from this condition can be treated with Calcarea carb. These people often have a distended abdomen, are lactose intolerant, and suffer chronic constipation. They are also overly sensitive to cold air and sweat excessively from the head.
- Homeopathic remedy for fatty liver with pain in the abdomen after eating Nux vomica is great for any abdominal problem, including fatty liver, caused by excessive consumption of alcohol. These patients often suffer abdominal pain a few hours after eating sour or bitter-tasting belches. They may constantly feel the urge to pass stool but cannot.
Chinese herbs for fatty liver: an effective home-based natural treatment for fatty liver
Chinese herbs for fatty liver are another natural treatment for fatty liver that has gained popularity as potential therapeutic agents for the prevention and treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) due to their high efficacy and low side effects.
Many traditional Chinese herbs for fatty liver are reported to have significant anti-NAFLD effects. One famous traditional Chinese herbal formula, Yinchenhao Decoction (YCHD), has been used to treat gallbladder and liver diseases for centuries. YCHD consists of three medicinal plants: Artemisia capillaris (Thunb), Gardenia jasminoides (Ellis), and Rheum palmatum. A new study shows that YCHD can lower the amount of fat that builds up in the liver, raise PPAR-γ levels, help endothelial progenitor cells grow, and increase adiponectin production. These changes are likely what make YCHD therapeutic for the fatty liver.
Another well-known traditional Chinese herbal formula, Qushi Huayu Decoction (QSHYD), consists of five medicinal plants: Artemisia capillaris (Thunb), Polygonum cuspidatum Sieb. et Zucc., Hypericum japonicum (Thunb), Curcuma longa L, and Gardenia jasminoides (Ellis). QSHYD can effectively reverse elevated levels of free fatty acid and total triglycerides (TG) and also improve hepatic steatosis and inflammation
Acupuncture for fatty liver is an ancient Chinese natural treatment.
Acupuncture is a natural treatment for fatty livers that has been widely used to prevent and treat various diseases.
As a classical method of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture for fatty liver has been applied to treat fatty liver disease in clinical practice due to its advantages of low cost, few side effects, and simple operation. A clinical study showed that acupuncture for the fatty liver can effectively treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and have a better therapeutic effect on the amount of fat in the liver, the metabolism of glycolipids, and insulin resistance. Several tests with NAFLD models showed that acupuncture could slow down the progression of NAFLD by stopping inflammation, lowering oxidative stress, and helping liver cells use fats more efficiently.
Natural treatment in Philadelphia
At the Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic, Dr. Victor Tsan has extensive experience in the natural treatment of internal diseases, including different GI disorders and fatty liver disease. Our professional team is well-trained and licensed in the state of Pennsylvania. If you are suffering from fatty liver and prefer alternative treatment, contact Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic to book an appointment with Dr. Tsan and discuss how natural remedies and acupuncture may help you.