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Nurturing Liver Health: Sustaining Optimal Liver Function

Updated: Oct 5, 2023


Nurturing Liver Health

In our fast-paced modern lifestyle, stress becomes an unwelcome companion. Sedentary habits take over, junk food sneaks its way onto our plates, and excessive alcohol consumption becomes a common indulgence. Little do we know, these seemingly harmless choices have contributed to a significant rise in the prevalence of fatty liver diseases.


stages of liver damage
Stages of liver damage
  1. Healthy Liver: A healthy liver performs vital functions, including filtering toxins from the blood, metabolizing nutrients, storing vitamins and minerals, producing bile for digestion, and synthesizing proteins. [1]

  2. Fatty Liver (Steatosis): Fatty liver occurs when there is an abnormal accumulation of fat in liver cells. It is commonly associated with excessive alcohol consumption (alcoholic fatty liver disease) or non-alcoholic causes such as obesity, insulin resistance, and high levels of triglycerides in the blood (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, NAFLD). [2]

  3. Liver Fibrosis: If left untreated, continued liver damage can lead to liver fibrosis. Liver fibrosis is the excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins including collagen that occurs in most types of chronic liver diseases. The liver attempts to repair itself by laying down collagen fibers, which gradually replace healthy liver tissue. [3]

  4. Cirrhosis: Cirrhosis is characterized by extensive scarring and distortion of the liver structure. The growth of connective tissue disrupts the liver's normal architecture, impairing its ability to function effectively. [4]


signs and symptoms of fatty liver
Signs and symptoms of fatty liver

Fatty liver diseases often do not exhibit noticeable symptoms in the early stages. However, as the condition progresses, individuals may experience symptoms such as:

  • Weakness - The fatty liver layers can lead to muscle weakness and a general feeling of physical weakness. This can be attributed to the compromised liver function affecting the body's overall energy levels. [5]

  • Abdominal discomfort - Individuals with fatty liver disease may experience discomfort or pain in the upper right side of the abdomen. [6]

  • Weight loss - Fatty liver disease can impact both appetite and energy expenditure, resulting in unintentional weight loss. [7]

In some cases, fatty liver diseases can progress to more severe conditions, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) or cirrhosis.


reversing fatty liver diseases
Reversing fatty liver diseases

However, by adopting a holistic approach it is possible to reverse the effects of fatty liver diseases and restore liver health.

  1. Regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity is crucial for managing and reversing fatty liver diseases. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming.

  2. Healthy diet: Focus on consuming whole foods rich in fiber, lean proteins, and healthy fats while limiting the intake of processed foods, sugary beverages, and saturated fats. Include food like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and nuts, which can support liver health.

  3. Consider supplements: Certain dietary supplements may aid in the reversal of fatty liver diseases. One such supplement is Vitamode SAM-e, known for its properties, that assist in the regeneration of liver cells and reduce inflammation.

Prioritizing these lifestyle changes not only improves liver function but also enhances overall well-being and reduces the risk of complications associated with fatty liver diseases. Remember, seeking medical advice and guidance from healthcare professionals is essential to ensure an individualized and effective approach to managing fatty liver diseases.


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References

  1. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2023). Liver: Anatomy and Functions. Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/liver-anatomy-and-functions

  2. MedlinePlus. (n.d.). Fatty liver disease. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/fattyliverdisease.html

  3. Bataller, R., & Brenner, D. A. (2005). Liver fibrosis. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 115(2), 209–218. https://doi.org/10.1172/jci24282

  4. De Bandt, J. P., Jegatheesan, P., & Tennoune-El-Hafaia, N. (2018). Muscle Loss in Chronic Liver Diseases: The Example of Nonalcoholic Liver Disease. Nutrients, 10(9), 1195. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10091195

  5. Abdominal Pain: Causes, Types & Treatment. (n.d.). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/4167-abdominal-pain

  6. Dhaliwal, A., Towey, J., Lord, J. M., Armstrong, M., & Elsharkawy, A. M. (2019). Nutrition in liver cirrhosis: a case-based overview. Frontline gastroenterology, 11(2), 155–161. https://doi.org/10.1136/flgastro-2018-101121




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