People who have consumed alcohol heavily in their life are at an increased risk of suffering from liver problems, such as alcoholic liver disease.
Yet, those who do not drink alcohol excessively may also experience a liver disease, known as a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
It may range in severity, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the condition when there is an inflammation of the liver, which is really serious and might lead to cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease.
Statistics suggest that more than twenty percent of the population in the United States is affected by NAFLD, and 2-3% by NASH. In the case of NAFLD, patients do not have any symptoms or very little, such as weight loss, malaise, fatigue, and pain in the upper right abdomen.
NAFLD occurs in the case of fat accumulation in the liver, which is not a result of alcohol, but the reason may be malnutrition, insulin resistance, rapid weight loss, diabetes, high cholesterol, viral hepatitis, and some medications like aspirin, diltiazem, corticosteroids, amiodarone, tetracycline, or antiviral drugs.
The treatment of NASH and NAFLD tends to remove the potential causes, or risk factors, like weight loss, stopping the use of drugs, or diabetes control.
Drug treatments have been shown to fail to treat the issue but include ursodeoxycholic acid, glucagon, metformin, glutamine infusion, and metronidazole.
Moreover, there are natural treatments for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which have provided excellent effects, such as:
- Low-glycemic diet
In order to treat and prevent this disease, it is of great help to avoid high-glycemic-index (GI) foods, as they raise blood sugar levels, like brown rice, potatoes, watermelon, and processed foods such as beer, chocolate bars, and sweetened cereals.
A 2008 study published in the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology showed that sugar leads to NAFLD, and 80% of NAFLD patients consumed sufficient amounts of juices and soft drinks that equaled 12 teaspoons of sugar.
Therefore, you should consume low GI foods, like onions, apples, garlic, eggs, legumes, pears, artichokes, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and green leafy vegetables.
One of the most effective treatments for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is weight loss. According to a systematic review published in the Journal of Hepatology in 2012, exercise is an inexpensive and effective therapy for NAFLD.
Namely, this review involved 12 studies that examined the effects of aerobic exercise and progressive resistance training in the case of a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in adults.
40 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic exercise for 5 days in a week effectively helps in the treatment of this disease, as it will enhance the liver quality and balance enzyme values.
Flaxseed contains phytoconstituents which effectively prevent harmful hormones straining the liver.
The journal Lipids in Health and Disease published a 2013 study which indicated that the mixture of flaxseed oil and alpha-lipoic acid improve the function of the liver and prevent fat accumulation and oxidative stress, so it protects from this disease.
For best effects, in order to preserve the freshness of flaxseed oil, and avoid rancidity, you should ground it using a coffee grinder. Then, you can add it to your salads.
Dandelion leaf or root (Taraxacum officinale) is an extremely beneficial as it enhances liver functions and cleanses it in the cleanses it in the case of NAFLD. It purifies and metabolizes the fat deposited in the liver.
The journal Food and Chemical Toxicology published a study which discovered that the extract of dandelion leaf prevent and treat obesity-related NAFLD, and efficiently reduces the accumulation of fat in the liver and lowers insulin resistance.
The tea of dandelion root is of great help in this case. You should add a teaspoon in a cup of boiling hot water, cover and steep for 10 minutes. Then, strain and drink a cup of it 3 times a day for 3 weeks.
Cilantro or coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is an effective herbal treatment, which is high in antioxidants and has powerful antihyperglycemic effects. It provides great effects in the case of liver issues, and conditions linked to NAFLD, especially diabetes.
- Amla or Indian gooseberry
Indian gooseberry (Emblica Officinalis), or amla, Amalaki fruit, is a popular herb in the Ayurvedic medicine, that has powerful rejuvenating properties and is extremely useful in treating fatty liver disease and diabetes.
It is rich in antioxidants which support the function of the liver, such as ellagic acid, vitamin C, corilagin, gallic acid, and gallotannin. It has also been found to help in the case of hepatotoxin-induced liver inflammation, which is a common symptom of NASH.
- Milk thistle
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is believed to be one of the most beneficial herbal remedies to prevent NAFLD and improve the function of the liver. Its flavonoids prevent liver damage, detox the body, and raise the levels of glutathione in the liver.
Research has also shown that it is also beneficial for various other liver ailments, like cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, viral hepatitis, and chemical toxicity. Experts recommend drinking of 900 milligrams twice daily with meals.
- Licorice root
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is very useful in the treatment of NAFLD. It is also commonly used in the Ayurvedic medicine. The journal Phytotherapy Research published a double-blind, randomized study in 2012, who found that the extract of licorice root greatly reduced liver enzymes in 66 patients with NAFLD.
You should pour boiling water over a teaspoon of licorice root powder, let it steep for 10 minutes, strain and enjoy your licorice root tea 1-2 a day.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum seylanicum) is a warming herb which aids digestion and supports liver health. Nutrition Research published a double-blind, placebo-controlled study in 2014, which involved 50 NAFLD patients who randomly took either two capsules of cinnamon or two placebo capsules daily, for 3 months. Researchers found that the consumption of 1,500 milligrams of cinnamon on a daily basis improves NAFLD.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has an extremely beneficial active component, curcumin, which effectively treats liver diseases and jaundice. This amazing spice also lowers the inflammation, oxidative stress, changes fat metabolism and improves insulin sensitivity, so it reduces liver injury and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Moreover, it efficiently treats liver cancer, known as hepatocarcinoma, and liver fibrosis. You can prepare a turmeric tea, or simply add it to your meals, and enjoy its health benefits.
Here we will suggest some effective ways to prevent liver disease in a completely natural, and safe way. Moreover, these tips will also be of great help in the case of a liver transplant:
Limit the intake of saturated fat: You should focus on a diet high in whole foods and nutrients, in order to strengthen the immune system and prevent liver disease.
Avoid alcohol: You should avoid alcohol consumption even if you suffer from the non-alcoholic variety of the disease. Note that some drugs and cough syrups also contain alcohol.
Avoid processed foods: Processed foods and ingredients like corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are extremely harmful. HFCS creates uric acid that leads to high blood pressure, liver damage, and gout.
Furthermore, GMO foods like corn damage the good gut bacteria and impede digestion, which destroys the proper function of the liver.
Avoid harmful drugs: Your liver may also be damaged by the use of excessive amounts of acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Pregnancy precaution: It is recommended that women who had a liver transplant should avoid pregnancy for at least 1 year after it, and should avoid breastfeeding due to possible risks of the baby to be exposed to immunosuppressive medicines through the milk.
Undergo liver enzyme tests: It is advisable that you do liver enzyme tests if you have fatty liver disease.
Avoid receiving live virus vaccines: Note that people who have undergone liver transplantation ought not to receive live virus vaccines.
Moreover, there are also some natural remedies which have proved to be extremely helpful in the case of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, including carnitine, green tea, folic acid, betaine, bile salts, choline, vitamin E, papaya, vitamin B6, grape seed extract, vitamin B12, barberry, vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), ginger, pine bark extract, S-Adenosyl methionine (SAM-e), cascara sagrada, southern ginseng, and goldenseal.