NAFLD, or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is defined as an excess accumulation of fats within your liver that is usually accompanied by elevated liver enzymes. As the name implies this condition is present in those who don’t consume significant amounts of alcohol.
Alcohol intake is one of the leading causes of fatty liver, but in NAFLD the condition tends to occur in those who are overweight or obese, have high cholesterol/triglyceride levels and who take in little to no alcoholic drinks. According to the American Liver Foundation this condition, NAFLD, affects up to 25 percent of Americans. (1)
Fatty Liver disease often will have no symptoms, thus making yearly blood evaluation very important (SGOT, SGPT, GGT and Uric Acid). It has been known to cause fatigue, jaundice, swelling in the legs and abdominal area and mental confusion, just to name a few. If this condition goes untreated complications can arise. Liver swelling, also known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or (NASH) can result. NASH can also contribute to liver failure or even liver cancer.
Two of the most paramount modes of prevention for this condition include eating a nutrient dense diet and utilizing a cardiovascular exercise routine. The American Liver Foundation says that this can often help to prevent this condition’s development and potentially reversing the problem in its early stages. (2)
One of the Leading Causes of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease is…
Fructose is the first ingredient blamed for this problem and the need for its elimination is highly important. This specific sugar is found in fruit and fruit juice, high fructose corn syrup, honey and even agave syrup.
Dr. Robert Lustig, a University of California neuroendocrinologist, calls fructose a “chronic, dose-dependent liver toxin.”
The research was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (3), where Dr. Lustig explained the three similarities between fructose and its fermentation byproduct, ethanol:
1. The liver’s metabolism of fructose is similar to alcohol, as they both serves as substances for converting dietary carbohydrates into fat, thus promoting insulin resistance, abnormal fat levels in the bloodstream, and fatty liver
2. Fructose undergoes a specific reaction with proteins, leading to the formation of superoxide free radicals which can result in liver inflammation similar to acetaldehyde, an intermediary metabolite of ethanol (alcohol)
3. By stimulating a particular pathway of the brain both directly and indirectly fructose creates a habituation and possible dependence, much like that of alcohol.
How can supplements and testing help this condition?
One study tested the hypothesis that low levels of Vitamin E may be associated with liver disease and found that laboratory mice engineered to have inadequate vitamin E levels showed the following: increased oxidative stress, fat deposition and other signs of liver injury. (4)
When this same animal population was supplemented with vitamin E, significant symptom relief was noted. An additional study was done to evaluate the role of specific vitamin E supplementation. The findings were rather noteworthy, the lab animals that were given both full spectrum mixed tocotrienols and alpha-tocopherol had a vastly significant level of improvement versus the group supplemented with only alpha-tocopherol or mixed tocotrienols. These benefits included: reduction in triglyceride accumulation, decreased level of lipid peroxides, improved liver markers and decreased liver scarring.
Knowing your liver enzyme scores, as a part of an annual full-blood evaluation can be part of a crucial preventative step in protecting yourself from this sometimes silent condition called fatty liver disease.
Supplementation with Vitamin E and other liver support formulas may be all that is necessary to keep this condition at bay but you won’t know what you need until you test.
Make sure to get tested first to make sure you are on the right supplement and nutrition program. By getting a comprehensive blood panel and tissue mineral analysis performed by an experience healthcare professional, an individualize program can be compiled for you to prepare you for your new healthy lifestyle. That way you won’t have to guess what you may need to eat or supplements that you should be on. You can take the guesswork out by getting tested objectively. Don’t wait, stop by our office today!
1, 2. American Liver Foundation, NAFLD
3. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, September 2010, Volume 110, Issue 9 Pages 1307-1321
4. Study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology