Fatty Liver Disease
Liver disease is most often associated with alcoholism, but fatty liver disease is increasingly due to obesity or cardiovascular diseases. While most who develop non-alcohol fatty liver disease are middle aged obese people, an alarming number of obese children are beginning to develop the condition as the obesity epidemic continues to grow.
Even more disturbing, pharmaceutical medications do not appear to be effective at combating fatty liver disease effectively. However, herbs are proving to be highly effective at addressing fatty liver disease through a multitude of published peer-reviewed studies in recent years.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the leading causes of chronic liver disease internationally, and is the top cause of liver disease in the US. Obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and symptoms of metabolic syndrome are often related to NAFLD.
Causes of Fatty Liver Disease
Other underlying correlative conditions that contribute to fatty liver disease are insulin resistance, lipid metabolism dysfunction, oxidative stress, and inflammation. Chronic liver inflammation can cause liver cells begin dyeing off, scar tissue is formed, and cirrhosis develops.
Other potential causes of fatty liver disease include:
- Pharmaceutical medications
- Viral hepatitis or hepatitis C
- Autoimmune or inherited liver disease
- Poor nutrition and dietary practices
Herbs for Fatty Liver Disease
Recent studies (sited below) have shown the potential for herbs used for fatty liver disease are incredibly promising. Here are some of the herbs that researchers have been investigating: Organic Free and Easy Wanderer formula
- Turmeric contains curcumin which demonstrates hepatic (liver)-protective qualities as well an hypolipidic effect preventing fatty acid accumulations in the liver cells. Additionally, turmeric is a potent anti-oxidant protecting liver cells from carcinogens and the possibility of the development of liver cancer.
- Yellow dock is one of the herb plants that have yellow roots because they contain the alkaloid berberine shown to reduce hepatic inflammatory and to deter abnormal retention of lipids within liver cells.
- Goji berries have been shown to contain polysaccharides that possess a wide range of biological actions including alleviated hepatic inflammation, antioxidant effects, immune-regulation, neuro-protection, and control of glucose metabolism. Through the restoration of antioxidant enzyme activities and the reduction of oxidative stress products, goji is thought to possess anti-tumor activities also.
- Milk thistle is one of the most investigated herbs; in the past 12 years, more than 10,000 papers have been published on the anti-oxidative, chemo-preventive, anti-inflammatory, and hepato-protective effects of silybin and silymarin, the active ingredient found in milk thistle seeds.
- A number of studies have found that formulas containing the herbs above plus combinations with Hawthorn berries, fo-ti, red sage root, bupleurum root and astragalus root are highly effective at successfully treating fatty liver disease.
Lifestyle Practices for Fatty Liver Disease
Once a person develops fatty liver disease it becomes very important to live life clean with a healthy organic diet; remember, the liver has to deal with toxins and hormonal metabolism in the body and cannot be further stressed at this point. While an alcoholic can quit drinking, and an obese person can diet, it is still important to heal the liver. At this point, medicinal herbs are proving to be the most effective way to restore proper liver action. Beyond eating well, avoiding alcohol and drugs (recreational or pharmaceutical), and taking herbs, here are some links to guides that will help you optimize your health:
People typically discover that they have developed fatty liver disease after a routine visit to the doctor where an inflamed liver may be detected or blood tests show increased liver enzymes. Most people with NAFLD are symptom free, but some experience the following symptoms:
- Loss of vitality and energy
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble concentrating
- Pain and tightness along the rib cage
- Swollen tender liver
- Fluid retention
- Muscle wasting and weakness
Molecular Biology Reports 2012 Oct;39(10):9715-22
“Traditional Chinese medicines benefit to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis.”
Shi KQ1, Fan YC, Liu WY, Li LF, Chen YP, Zheng MH.
Biofactors Journal 2013 Jan-Feb;39(1):88-100.
“Curcumin and liver disease.”
Vera-Ramirez L, Pérez-Lopez P, Varela-Lopez A, Ramirez-Tortosa M, Battino M, Quiles JL.
Cochrane Database System Review 2013 Aug 24;8:CD009059.
“Herbal medicines for fatty liver diseases.”
Liu ZL1, Xie LZ, Zhu J, Li GQ, Grant SJ, Liu JP.
Food Function Journal 2014 May;5(5):1038-49
“A diet formula of Puerariae radix, Lycium barbarum, Crataegus pinnatifida, and Polygonati rhizoma alleviates insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis in CD-1 mice and HepG2 cells.”
Liu J1, Zhang H, Ji B, Cai S, Wang R, Zhou F, Yang J, Liu H.
Journal of Traditional Complement Medicine 2013 Apr;3(2):88-94
“Recent advances in the herbal treatment of non-alcoholic Fatty liver disease.”
Xiao J1, Fai So K2, Liong EC3, Tipoe GL4.