How to Improve and Reverse Fatty Liver Disease Holistically

Fatty liver disease has reached epidemic proportions globally. Once thought to only affect alcoholics, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) caused by sugar consumption is now exponentially more common. Left unchecked, fatty liver can progress from simple fat infiltration to severe inflammation, scarring, and even liver failure. The good news is that by understanding what causes fatty liver and addressing the root issues, it may be possible to reverse it in the early stages.

What is Fatty Liver Disease?

Fatty liver disease is characterized by excess fat buildup in liver cells. This fat causes the liver to swell and become damaged over time. There are two main types:

  • Alcoholic fatty liver disease is caused by excessive alcohol intake. This used to be the most common type.
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is caused by insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome from poor diet and obesity. NAFLD is now far more prevalent globally.

In both types, fat causes inflammation and impairs liver function. Advanced fatty liver can progress to permanent scarring known as cirrhosis. However, mild to moderate fatty liver is often reversible through lifestyle changes.

Root Causes of Fatty Liver Disease

The primary drivers of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease include:

Excess Sugar Consumption – Sugary foods, sodas, and juices containing high fructose corn syrup increase insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and fat storage in the liver. The fructose portion is especially damaging as it can only be processed by the liver.

Insulin Resistance – Chronically elevated insulin from excessive refined carbs promotes fat storage in the liver and inflammation throughout the body. This congests the liver over time.

Toxins – Environmental toxins, medications, heavy metals, and other substances burden the liver, which is the main detoxification organ.

Chronic Stress – Stress hormones increase inflammation and reduce blood flow to the liver, limiting nutrient delivery.

Solutions and Lifestyle Changes to Improve Fatty Liver

The most powerful way to resolve a fatty liver is removing the causes driving the imbalance:

Severely Limit Sugar and Refined Carbs – Decreasing sugary foods, sodas, juices, and processed grains helps lower insulin and metabolic inflammation.

Reduce Toxins – Limiting medications, drugs, alcohol, and chemical exposures gives your liver a break to heal. Consider a periodic detox cleanse.

Manage Stress – Daily relaxation practices like meditation and yoga calm the stress response and increase blood flow to nourish the liver.

Why reduce sugars and refined carbohydrates in the diet?

One of the most powerful ways to reverse fatty liver disease is to drastically reduce sugars and refined carbohydrates in the diet. Sugars like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup promote insulin resistance, inflammation, and rapid fat accumulation in the liver. It is best to eliminate sodas, fruit juices, candy, baked goods, and other high sugar foods. Additionally, refined grains in breads, cereals, crackers, and pastas break down into sugar rapidly, spiking blood glucose and insulin. Focus instead on getting carbohydrates from whole food sources like vegetables, fruits, legumes, and starchy tubers.

Limit even healthy carbs to 1-2 servings per meal. Avoid snacking between meals. Finally, consider a temporary very low carb or ketogenic diet to reset metabolic health, which may require strict carb restriction under 50g daily.

Reducing dietary sugar and excess carbohydrates can go a long way towards reversing fatty liver disease.

Eat Liver-Supporting Foods:

  • Eggs, organ meats, and meat – Rich in amino acids for the antioxidant glutathione and choline to help the liver metabolize fat.
  • Cruciferous vegetables – Broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts etc. aid detoxification.
  • Healthy fats – Olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds promote bile flow to remove toxins.
  • Herbs and spices – Turmeric, milk thistle, and dandelion help protect and regenerate liver cells.

Improving Fatty Liver Disease Over Time

It takes time and consistency to improve fatty liver by making dietary and lifestyle changes. There are several progressive stages:

  • Simple Fatty Liver – Excess fat inside liver cells. Usually reversible in early stage through diet and lifestyle.
  • NASH (Inflammation) – Fatty liver with liver cell inflammation and elevated enzymes on blood tests. More difficult to reverse but still possible.
  • Cirrhosis – Permanent scarring and damage. Much harder to improve liver function at this advanced stage.

The key is identifying and addressing fatty liver in the early phases before inflammation and scarring occur. Though challenging, stick with the diet, stress reduction, and toxin-lowering protocols for at least 3-6 months to allow the liver to heal and regenerate. Work with a knowledgeable functional medicine practitioner for continued guidance and support.

Reversing the Rising Tide of Fatty Liver Disease

In summary, fatty liver disease was once rare but has exploded into a global epidemic. The good news is that in the early stages, fatty liver is largely reversible through targeted lifestyle interventions and dietary changes. To improve fatty liver disease, severely limit sugar and refined foods, manage chronic stress, remove toxins, and eat more liver-supporting whole foods. With time and consistency, it’s possible to restore normal liver function and metabolic health using a holistic approach.

Workout and Fitness News

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.