Fatty Liver - Symptoms, Causes, Prevention & Homeopathic treatment​

Fatty liver and homeopathy

What is Fatty Liver?

A collection of fats in the liver cells is called the fatty liver. This condition is also called steatosis hepatitis or steatorrhoeic hepatosis.

Steatosis simply means a collection of fat vacuoles within the liver cells 

Alcohol and obesity are two leading causes of fatty liver worldwide. Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD) and Alcoholic Fatty Liver (AFL) are entities by themselves. Obesity plus other non-alcoholic conditions comprise Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease (NALD).

When these fat cells cause inflammation of the liver tissues, it’s called steatotic hepatitis and it is of notable concern.

Both alcohol, as well as other conditions causing major biochemical changes in our bodies, can cause steatotic hepatitis. When this condition is due to reasons other than alcohol, it’s denoted by the term Non-Alcoholic Steatotic Hepatitis or more commonly as NASH.

Fatty liver when inflamed, can over a period of time cause scarring and fibrosis of the liver. This condition called cirrhosis is serious and has serious side effects if left unchecked.

Functions of Liver

The liver is the largest organ in the human body. It plays many roles in keeping the biochemical balance intact. You should know some normal functions of the liver to understand how the disease affects it.

Under normal conditions, your liver creates optimal nutrition for all the 50 trillion odd cells in your body. Different roles played by the liver are:

  • Production of bile – which is necessary for proper digestion. Bile salts emulsify the fats and improve digestion. Also, when fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K are dissolved in the bile, they are absorbed better. A good measure of toxic substances is produced in the body daily. Many of these are only fat-soluble. These are dissolved in bile and finally emptied into the intestines to be thrown out as fecal matter. The liver thus helps in the elimination of toxic byproducts from the body by producing bile.
  • Production of many clotting factors and proteins from amino acids which are important for every process of healing, repair, and cell growth.
  • It is the largest storehouse of many vitamins (A, D, K + B12), iron, and minerals. The liver also converts all the B-Complex vitamins into their active forms. Every nutrient, be it vitamins, minerals, or amino acids, are converted into their biologically active forms by the liver. Nutrients in foods and supplements are never in their active, absorbable forms. The liver makes them active thus, making them available for body functions.
  • The liver has huge stores of energy. It produces glucose from the different sugars in our diet and stores it in the form of glycogens.
  • It buffers any major fluctuations in glucose levels by converting glycogens to glucose when glucose levels are low and vice versa when glucose levels are high.
  • It is vital for the removal of old, worn-out red blood cells from circulation.
  • The thyroid hormone T4 is converted into its more potent form T3 within the liver
  • Detoxification of the body is a major function. Chemicals, industrial pollutants, metabolic wastes from junk foods, drugs, insecticide residues, alcohol, etc. are some of the dangerous toxins eliminated through our liver.

What are the causes of Fatty Liver?

Why fatty liver occurs, is unknown. A fatty diet or overeating by itself never results in a fatty liver. The fat may come from increased absorption from the intestines or from elsewhere in the body. But, putting it generally, the liver loses its capacity to eliminate fats deposited within it.

Yet, 70% of persons suffering from NASH are found to be obese.


What are some common causes of Nash?

  • Metabolic syndromes
    Apart from alcohol, there are many conditions that cause an imbalance in the body’s metabolic capacity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High blood cholesterols
  • Pregnancy
  • Glycogen storage disease
  • Congenital disorders like Wolman’s disease
  • Congenital diseases like Wilson’s disease which affects copper levels
  • A weber-Christian disease affecting nutrient absorption.
  • Galactosemia – a disorder that affects the way milk is metabolized in the body.
  • Infections like tuberculosis and malaria.
  • Nutritional causes
    • Severe malnutrition
    • Obesity
    • Sudden rapid weight loss
    • Surgeries performed to reduce obesity – gastric bypass surgery, jejunoileal bypass, etc.
  • Drugs
    • Corticosteroids
    • Valproic acids (used in epileptic patients)
    • Medications for heart conditions like irregular heartbeats and high blood pressures e.g. amiodarone; diltiazem.
    • Sedatives
    • Tamoxifen – used in treating breast cancer.
    • Methotrexate
    • Anti-retroviral drugs (indinavir)
    • An overdose of Vitamin A.
  • In extreme cases, amiodarone and methotrexate can cause cirrhosis.
  • Other
    • toxins from foodstuffs like
    • rancid peanuts – aflatoxins are extremely toxic
    • mushroom poisonings
    • phosphorus from the environment

What are the risk factors for Fatty Liver?

Your chances of developing fatty liver are high if you

  • are obese
  • are an alcoholic
  • Suffer from high blood pressures which often fluctuate or are on long-term medications for the same.
  • Blood cholesterol levels are high.

What are the symptoms of Fatty Liver?

The mild Fatty liver is usually asymptomatic. It is detected incidentally during routine tests performed. However, some persons can have symptoms which are often vague.

  • Malaise – or a feeling of severe discomfort, making the person want to rest,
  • Fatigue – even with moderate exertion
  • Fullness and heaviness in the abdomen, more in the right upper corner
  • Occasionally the liver maybe painful on pressure.

However, with fatty liver unchecked can progress to cirrhosis which is life-threatening. Thereafter, features of liver failure present themselves.

  • Yellowish discoloration of skin (jaundice), dark colored urine.
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild to moderate reddish discolorations just below the superficial skin layers which blanch on pressure (spider naevi)
  • Abdominal dissension (due to increased fluid in the abdomen – ascites)
  • Easy bleeds from small trauma.
  • Blood doesn’t clot soon enough
  • Fine to moderate tremors of the fingers
  • Flapping tremors of the hands (asterixis)
  • Itching in hands and legs which gradually spread all over the body
  • Veins in legs, abdomen, seem engorged and distended.
  • Giddiness.
  • Poor memory, poor concentration, dullness of thoughts, mental confusion » this is an emergency (encephalopathy)!!
  • Depression
  • Loss of Sexual Drive

How is Fatty Liver diagnosed?

Commonly, the diagnosis is incidental. Some tests which identify the disorder are:-

  • Ultrasound (Ultrasonography): A painless, non-invasive test, when performed by an experienced personnel, it can accurately identify fatty liver. The liver size can be measured and this test can be valuable in grading the improvement.
  • Liver Function Tests: Abnormal levels of liver enzymes in the blood identify as well as provide a deeper understanding of the cause of fatty liver. This test also provides insight into the efficacy of treatment and the improvement to be expected.
  • Computed Tomography Scan (CT scan): non-invasive. Measures internal organs accurately and in detail by the use of X-rays.
  • MRI: Also non-invasive. Uses radio waves in a magnetic field to scan the structures of internal organs.

What are the tips for prevention of Fatty Liver?

  • Say No To Alcohol
    Or if you have started having alcohol, try not to have more than two pegs in a week.
  • Quit Smoking
    Smoking can cause many biochemical and hemodynamic changes which make you more vulnerable to liver damage.
  • Control Weight Gain
    70% of persons suffering from NASH are found to be obese.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    Found to be promising in preventing fatty liver. Found in natural sources like walnuts, fish oils (cod, salmons), and flaxseed oils.

What is the best Homeopathy treatment for Fatty Liver?

Homeopathy addresses the underlying causes of fatty liver, improves liver functions and reduces the symptoms as well as modifies the disease process. Homeopathy is recommended for cases of Fatty Liver.


What Foods To Eat When You Have A Fatty Liver?

Fatty liver or hepatic steatosis as the name suggests means you have lots of fats in your liver. There are two major types of fatty liver disease, namely alcohol-induced liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is also called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The fatty liver  disease damages the liver and prevents it from carrying out normal liver functions. The production of bile (digestive juice) is hindered, due to which the toxins keep accumulating in the liver thereby aggravating the liver damage. Typically, fatty liver is asymptomatic in the earlier stages. The condition is diagnosed mostly during the routine investigations or while undergoing an ultrasonography in order to diagnose some other condition.

Unfortunately, fatty liver has become a very common condition amongst individuals over the age of 30 years. The reason for the development of fatty liver is an erratic lifestyle, sedentary jobs, and consumption of processed foods leading to obesity. If these risk factors are not curbed on time, it can lead to various levels of fatty liver (grade 1, grade 2, and grade 3 fatty liver). One of the major ways of treating fatty liver regardless of the type involved is to follow a customized diet for treating the said condition.


Foods To Eat When You Have A Fatty Liver

Since the liver is already functionally slowed down, you need to have foods which are light on the gut and easy to digest. Include the following foods which will help in detoxifying the liver and further normalizing the liver enzymes, thereby leading a possibility of reversal of the condition, particularly in grade 1 and grade 2 fatty liver.       

  1. Eat Plenty Of Fruits & Vegetables:

To be specific, include bright colored fruits and vegetables in your diet. Fruits and vegetables, such as guava, amla, sweet lime, oranges, kiwis, strawberries, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach etc., are rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant which helps in the treatment of many chronic diseases. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which help in treating various grades of fatty liver disease. It acts as a mediator in the absorption of iron, thereby reducing the workload on the liver. Hence, an adequate amount of vitamin C consumption can go a long way in healing the liver.

  1. Have Fibrous Foods:

Fiber is an inevitable component of the digestion process which also helps in filtering the waste products from the liver. Consume legumes, whole grains, and vegetables like carrots, radishes which are rich in fiber. It is beneficial for managing grade 1 fatty liver.

  1. Go Gluten-Free:

Opt for millets, such as jowar, bajra, ragi (Nachni), and buckwheat, that are easily absorbed and take lesser time to digest compared to wheat and maida.

  1. Restrict Your Fat Intake:

Fats are an essential part of a balanced diet, but consuming foods having saturated fats will only add fuel to the fire. Choose to eat foods comprising unsaturated fats which include corn, soybean, walnuts, and flaxseeds. Fat is also an inevitable part of cooking. Sunflower oil, canola oil, and olive oil will serve the purpose, thereby supporting your weak liver. Avoid fried foods. Go for baked food products.

  1. Avoid Stimulants:

Prefer green tea and black tea instead of milk tea and coffee. This creates an alkaline atmosphere in the digestive system which aids the healing process. These foods are potential antioxidants which fight free radicals and protect the liver from cell damage. Avoid stimulants like alcohol which is the biggest culprit in causing liver diseases. Likewise, aerated drinks should also be avoided.

  1. Consume Plenty Of Liquids:

The consumption of an adequate amount of water, buttermilk, coconut water, and soups helps in excreting unwanted fats from the liver, thereby stimulating the normal liver function.

  1. Go Vegetarian:

Consuming red meat, eggs, and other forms of meat will only damage the liver. Meat is high in saturated fats which hamper the normal liver cell function. It is advisable to avoid the consumption of seafood since it might be polluted with heavy metals and other chemicals.   


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