One aspect of private practice that alerts me of public health issues, is the trends in medical conditions that patients get referred to me for. In the last couple of years, I’ve seen the rise of fatty liver in referrals and form inquiries. Adults and Pediatric cases alike. I am talking about pre-teens people as well as increased incidence in those younger than 50 years old.

I am not the type to just sit and watch; something about me that you should know is the fact that I love teaching, educating and sharing information that is science-based, researched and studied. So today as I was about to write a newsletter I thought, I gotta share this on THE BLOG 🙂 So here I am, bringing up light and basics about what this condition is, as well as how to start taking action to reverse it, because YES, you can do that!

Its simpler and easier than you may think! 

Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Diesease (NAFLD) is now the most common chronic liver disease in the United States! The rise correlates with the increase in obesity and metabolic syndrome rates and it makes sense. But I am gonna break it down in simple terms for you today as well as give you the 3 steps to get started to a healtheir liver. 

WHAT IS Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?

As the name indicates: it’s basically when fat builds up in and around the liver and when alcohol abuse is not a factor. if there is something I want you to take into account is that OUR LIVER IS SUPER IMPORTANT, imagine how can the liver function optimallyin that environment.  It is indeed sluggish!

healthy vs nafld liver

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT OUR LIVER DOES?

Our liver takes care of MORE THAN 500 VITAL functions! Here are some to name a few:

  • Major detoxification organ
  • Metabolizes and breaks down nutrients
  • Regulates blood composition
  • Glycogen, amino acid and cholesterol synthesis
  • Produces bile
  • Hormone & enzyme production and detoxification

While often it does not present with “symptoms” just like high cholesterol; a key complaint is fatigue AND feeling sluggish. 

As the condition progresses, it can include inflammation, fibrosis, the accumulation of proteins including collagen in the liver (this impairs liver function), and cirrhosis, which is when fibrosis leads to permanent scarring in the liver and irreversible damage. 

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?

As indicated in the name: FATTY liver, main risk factor is BMI > 30 (obesity).

Other risk factors include:

  • Insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
  • Abnormal Lipid Panel: High levels of triglycerides (above 150mg/dl) and High LDL (above 100mg/dl)
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Other conditions that may be associated with NAFLD include polycystic ovary syndrome, hypothyroidism, and obstructive sleep apnea.
  • History of cholecystectomy, independent of risk factors for gallstones, increases the risk of NAFLD.

 SO DOES THAT MEAN A LIVER DETOX WILL HELP? HOW ABOUT KETO?

NO! However you definitely want to make some adjustments to your food intake and lifestyle

Top three recommendations you can start right away:

1.  Ditch all sugary drinks, from those frappuccinos, Jamba Juice, sodas. and foods with added sugars

2. Eat 5-6 servings (about the size of your fist) of vegetables (not just lettuce).  When it comes to veggies, variety of colors and textures are key and will do you good. ( Simple no brainer recipe ex: chicken nourish bowl: 4-5 oz baked herbed chicken, ½ cup quinoa or brown rice,  sauteed green beans & mixed greens with ½ cup chopped cucumber, ¼ of an avocado, and 2-4 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette, your welcome)

3. Move that beautiful body of yours as much as you can: minimum of 30 min a day; but aim for 60 min through the day. I don’t care what you do, just do it. FAT is STORED energy, the only way you will use it is with movement. 

As with many conditions, I have found that it is not just food. Is lifestyle, habits and behaviors that will help you heal.  All the nonsense, crazy restrictions will only leave you feeling more out of balance, creating a cycle. I don’t want that for you. Just start with the three ACTIONS above consistently for a week and notice the difference. (be sure to share with me what happens just by doing that!)

I hope you found this information helpful, interesting and informative; share your takeaway in the comments below and I don’t mind if you share with anyone who might be in need of some hope and light in their health!

I am cheering for you!   

Dietitian Sandy

P.S. Where can you find me? Whether the Gram, Facebook or any social media of your choice, I would love to see you there and keep the conversation going 🙂 Pop in and like, follow @DietitianSandy