How to avoid this silent liver disease

If you spend any time on social media, especially Facebook, you’ve probably seen some swift and negative reactions to body shaming memes or posts.

I’ve always detested bullying of any kind, but attacks on personal appearance because someone doesn’t fit a warped standard of beauty is just plain wrong.

I recently had a conversation with one of my close girlfriends that she initiated regarding her size. And it reminded me that weight can be an indicator of wellness or illness, and those are conversations we don’t need to shy away from.

Since college, Jeanine was unhappy with her size. To me and our close circle of friends, she was nothing but beautiful, amazing and full of energy.

But recently she found her energy zapped — and then something worse…

At first, she just thought she’d been pushing too hard at work and not getting enough rest. Then, she began to experience abdominal pain and started losing weight, but only because she lost her appetite — even for her favorite foods.

That’s when she went to her doctor and was shocked to find she had fatty liver disease.

Basically, that’s when you’ve got too much fat stored in your liver cells.

Unfortunately, being overweight is one of the main risk factors for developing a fatty liver, and like my friend, there are an estimated 80 to 100 million walking around undiagnosed.

Most people never experience symptoms, and are hit by surprise when an M.D. makes the diagnosis.

Here’s how it can affect you… starting with diet.

Fatty diet, fatty liver

A new study by Keck School of Medicine of USC has found an unseen way a fatty diet can ruin your health…

It can trigger changes in your immune system that lead to a serious form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH.

The study, published in Hepatology, illuminates how a toxic combination of dietary fat and cholesterol impacts the behavior of macrophages, a type of white blood cell, in the liver.

Using a mouse model, the researchers were able to show how a cascade of events in your immune system after eating this type of fatty diet eventually leads to the type of liver inflammation and scarring that is commonly seen in patients with NASH.

After feeding mice diets with varying levels of fat and cholesterol, the team found that the combination of both had a synergistically dangerous action on the genes regulating liver inflammation and scarring.

Oxidized low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (especially found in fried foods and vegetable oils), in particular, directly altered gene expression in both human and mouse macrophages associated with inflammation and scar formation.

The scary thing is that you can have NASH for years without experiencing symptoms. If it progresses too far you could end up with advanced liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, liver failure and even liver cancer.

Love your liver to avoid NASH

Currently, there is no standard treatment for fatty liver disease. That means your only hope is to prevent it and keep your liver functioning optimally.

So, how do you do that?

First, you need to look at your diet — ditch the bad fats and eat more low-glycemic foods like vegetables, fruits and grains.

Vegetables that are rich in nitrates, such as spinach, arugula, beetroot, lettuce and garlic are especially important since recent research shows that nitrates can combat the damage done to your liver due to a fatty diet.

You also need to get regular exercise to help maintain a healthier weight since being overweight or obese dramatically increases your risk of fatty liver disease.

And, finally, be sure to take liver optimizing supplements to help it clear out the toxins and fats that can accumulate and make it sluggish.

These include:

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) — A potent antioxidant that helps keep fats from accumulating in your liver. Plus, it’s both fat- and water-soluble, so it can help eliminate free radicals whether your liver is fatty or lean.

Turmeric — This golden herb known for its anti-inflammatory power, turmeric helps protect your liver from oxidative stress to promote healthy liver function and protects the health of your liver cells so that they can do their job to cleanse your body.

Schisandra — Schisandra is an ancient Chinese herb that promotes healthy liver function by activating enzymes in your liver cells that produce glutathione — your body’s master antioxidant that detoxifies your body.

N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) — A powerful amino acid, NAC has been shown to help support gentle detoxification of tobacco and other types of carbon monoxide-rich smoke, alcohol and other air pollutants from your liver. Plus, studies show NAC can help provide the liver protection you need to keep you healthy.

Follow these tips to protect your liver and your overall health!