People who are on heavy alcohol consumption are at risk of liver problems like alcoholic liver disease. However, people who don’t drink a lot of alcohol are also at risk of the liver disease called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). If you are from Singapore, you will read that the Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is on the rise and one of our member of Parliament MP was also recently been afected by this.
The condition often ranges in severity. When there is inflammation of the liver, it is known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This stage is serious where things may advance to cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease.
NAFLD is thought to affect close to 20% of the population in US and developed Asean countries is not far behind. NAFLD occurs when fat is deposited in the liver, and this case the problem is not from alcohol. Others NAFLD causes include insulin resistance or diabetes, high cholesterol, viral hepatitis, malnutrition, rapid weight loss, and certain medications such as corticosteroids, aspirin, amiodarone, diltiazem, tetracycline, or antiviral drugs.
The goal in the treatment of NAFLD or NASH is to eliminate potential causes or risk factors of the problem. For instance, stopping certain drug treatments, losing weight, and controlling diabetes are the most common ways to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Home remedies are proven to be effective for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and below are the most common non-alcoholic fatty liver disease natural remedies:
Weight loss is considered the most effective approach in the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In a systematic review published in the Journal of Hepatology in 2012, the researchers found that exercise is a valid, low-cost therapy for NAFLD. A minimum of 40 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic exercise for five days weekly can help benefit NAFLD patients. Exercise will help balance enzyme values and improve the quality of liver in those with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
2. Low-glycemic diet
The elimination of high-glycemic-index (GI) foods is vital for the prevention and treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. High GI foods that increase blood sugar levels include potatoes, watermelon, brown rice, and processed foods like chocolate bars, sweetened cereals, and beer. It is best to consume foods with a low GI of 55 or less such as eggs, onions, legumes, garlic, apples, pears, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, artichokes, and green leafy vegetables.
3. Milk thistle
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is considered the top herbal remedy to improve liver function and treat and prevent NAFLD. The flavonoids in milk thistle can effectively protect one from liver damage. The flavonoids also help enhance the detoxification process, including increasing the glutathione in the liver.
Glutathione is a key component for low liver function in NAFLD patients. Evidence also suggests that milk thistle is useful for other liver-related diseases such as alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, viral hepatitis, and chemical toxicity. The recommended intake is 900 milligrams of milk thistle twice daily with meals and this can be consumed through good supplement with Mile Thistle in the retail store.
Dandelion leaf or root (Taraxacum officinale) is often used to promote proper liver function as an effective cleansing herb for NAFLD. Dandelion will detoxify and metabolize fat that accumulates in the liver. A study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology found that dandelion leaf extract can help prevent and treat obesity-related NAFLD. The dandelion leaf extract significantly suppressed fat accumulation in the liver and lowered insulin resistance.
Enjoy dandelion root tea to obtain the full effects of fatty liver disease. Add a teaspoon of dried dandelion root to a cup of boiling hot water. Next, cover and steep for up to 10 minutes. Strain the decoction. It is recommended to drink three cups of the tea each day over a three-week period.
5. Amla or Indian gooseberry
Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis) is a rejuvenative herb used heavily in Ayurvedic medicine for treating diabetes and fatty liver disease. It is also called amla or amalaki fruit. It contains important antioxidants that help with liver function, including vitamin C, ellagic acid, gallic acid, gallotanin, and corilagin. Studies have also linked amla with hepatotoxin-induced liver inflammation, which is a sign of NASH.
6. Licorice root
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is another excellent remedy for NAFLD, which is also used in Ayurvedic medicine. In a double-blind, randomized study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research in 2012, licorice root extract significantly reduced liver enzymes in 66 patients with NAFLD. To make licorice root tea, simply pour boiling water over a teaspoon of licorice root powder, and let it steep for abo ut 10 minutes. Let it strain, and enjoy the tea. It is a good idea to consume the licorice root tea once or twice daily.
Tips to Prevent Liver Disease
The following are some tips to help you prevent liver disease, as well as precautions to take if you have had a liver transplant:
a. Avoid all processed foods: Avoid processed foods and ingredients like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or corn syrup. HFCS will produce uric acid that causes gout, increases blood pressure, and lead to liver damage. Genetic modified foods like corn will destroy good gut bacteria, and interfere with digestion. This process makes the liver work harder.
b. Restrict your intake of saturated fat: A whole foods and nutrient-dense diet will help prevent liver disease and improve immunity.
c. Avoid harmful drugs: Large quantities of acetaminophen (Tylenol) are considered a harmful drug for the liver.
d. Avoid drinking alcohol: Even when your fatty liver disease is the non-alcoholic variety, it is best to avoid drinking alcohol altogether. Be aware that alcohol is found in some cough syrups and other drugs.
e. Avoid receiving live virus vaccines: Liver transplant recipients should not receive live virus vaccines.
f. Undergo liver enzyme tests: If you have fatty liver disease it is a good idea to undergo liver enzyme tests.
g Pregnancy precaution: Women with a liver transplant should avoid pregnancy for at least a year after the transplantation. After they do give birth, they should avoid breastfeeding because of the potential risk of the baby to immunosuppressive medicines in the milk.