Yes, junk food attacks your liver! Fatty liver disease, commonly called “fatty liver”, is spreading as quickly as obesity and diabetes. Is this dangerous? Is there something you can do?

Steatosis or metabolic syndrome is an accumulation of fat inside cells, which in the normal state contain only very low traces. Fats are usually accumulated as triglycerides. The liver, which plays a major role in metabolism, is the seat of the usual overload.

The beginnings of this condition are asymptomatic. Most of the time, it is discovered only after an abdominal ultrasound or blood tests. As for you, if you often complain  of  heavy legs, suffer from migraines, gastric reflux, the heartburn and rapid loss of energy during the day then you should get yourself tested.

It is estimated that 20% to 25% of North Americans suffer from this metabolic syndrome, and the proportion rises to nearly 40% among those 65 and over! It means that these people are at a high risk of suffering from fatty liver and that nearly one in four people will develop diabetes within 10 years.

From Fatty Liver to Cirrhosis

The accumulation of fat inside liver cells causes an increase in liver size which is detectable by palpation and confirmed by ultrasound. At this stage, fatty liver weighs just your life but does not normally damage. If the disease progresses to Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), it gets worse. This means that there is inflammation and development of fibrosis cells (loss of elasticity of the liver tissue) in liver. If left unchecked, inflammation and tissue growth within the liver can lead to cirrhosis or cancer.

People who are at risk

  • People with metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance).
  • People who have high cholesterol and / or triglycerides too high.
  • Diabetics.
  • People who are overweight or obese.
  • Alcoholics.

The Metabolic Syndrome and Abdominal Obesity

Among the evaluation criteria, abdominal obesity is the most important. Fat cells that accumulate around the waist are different from those of other body parts. These cells are active and have an influence on weight gain.

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the hypoglycemic pancreatic cells. It acts as a key that allows the opening of cells to let glucose into the bloodstream. If insulin cannot open the cell door, then there will be a high quantity of glucose in the blood. Over time, several cells stop responding to the presence of glucose and develop insulin (resistance), except the fat cells of the abdominal region.

Measure your waist! It must not exceed 102 cm (40 inches) for men and 88 cm (35 inches) for women. If it reaches or exceeds these measures and in addition your answer is YES to two or more of the following markers, you may be suffering from metabolic syndrome:

  • Triglycerides are too high.
  • HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) low.
  • Hypertension.
  • Fasting glucose too high.

Fat distribution is a criterion of severity for this disorder. Thus, people who have a high concentration of fat around the waist have a higher risk of complications than those with a high amount of fat in the buttocks and thighs. The total amount of stored fat in the body is important, but their distribution is much more important.

Liver IS an Irreplaceable Organ!

Liver is a wonderful complex laboratory and it works day and night. It is involved in digestion, cholesterol synthesis, and is responsible for the secretion of bile, stores vitamins A, D, K, B (especially B12) and minerals including iron and copper, participates in blood clotting, plays a crucial role in the metabolism of sugars, proteins, fats and many hormonal changes. Most importantly, it filters everything including nutrients, alcohol, drugs and toxic molecules that you swallow and breathe. It has a remarkable antitoxic function. It can neutralize and destroy the toxins, except in the presence of fatty infiltration, and its function in such conditions becomes complicated because of the fixed fatty toxins.

Solutions and Prevention of Fatty Liver 

As fatty liver is often associated with other factors such as obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, the solutions to it include healthy eating and regular physical activity at least 30 minutes per day.

Among the recommended supplements, lipotropic factors should have a place of choice because they are opposed to fat deposits in liver cells.

In the presence of gastric reflux, digestion can be facilitated by formulas of bitter plants like the artichoke and milk thistle. In the case of heartburn, licorice root and slippery elm powder are preferred.

If you suffer from metabolic syndrome or hepatic steatosis, then the bioelectrical impedance analysis is a simple and effective method for assessing body composition of water, fat and lean mass.