Having a healthy liver is a vital component to combating the toxic junk and chemicals in our environment. A healthy liver means your body stays healthy, you don’t get sick, and you maintain plenty of energy.
Unfortunately however, 90 million Americans—and a growing number of individuals worldwide—have what is called fatty liver disease, which literally means your liver fills with fat. This then paves the path for chronic disease and inflammation.
But the good news is that fatty liver can be easily treated and reversed with some basic dietary and lifestyle changes.
WHAT IS FATTY LIVER DISEASE?
Fatty LIver Disease (Steatosis) happens when fat cells replace the liver cells. Over time, if there’s inflammation with that fat deposition in the liver, that’s called fibrosis and you can get scar tissue in the liver, which is called cirrhosis, and sadly, that’s the non-reversible stage.
WHAT CAUSES IT?
1. Too many simple carbohydrates and sugar.
The average American eats approximately 1 pound of sugar and flour every single day.
One pound = 16 ounces.
In one year, that equals to 152 pounds of sugar, 133 pounds of flour which drives the pathology of fatty liver.
Simple carbs = processed foods that come out of a box, bag, or window.
Think bagels, pizza, tortillas, bread.
Starch and sugar drive insulin that leads to fatty liver, and cause high triglycerides, and low HDL, inflammation, and more insulin resistance, thus creating a vicious cycle.
2. The microbiome is such a key part because it drives inflammation.
The microbiome can release toxins and cause leaky gut, so identifying food sensitivities through the MRT170 blood test and avoiding those foods & chemicals for a period of time allow your immune system to calm down.
HOW CAN YOU REVERSE IT?
Dark leafy greens - contain phytonutrients, fiber, and minerals.
Cruciferous vegetables contain sulforaphane which encourages the production of glutathione in the body. Examples: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts.
Sulfurous vegetables like onions and garlic.
Enough protein. Protein is really important for the detoxification process in the body.
Foods rich in fiber to bind toxins, beans, legumes, and nuts and seeds, ground flax seed.
You need fiber to sweep the debris and buildup in your intestines so that you can detox through a normal bowel movement each and every day.
Healthy fat (like MCT oil) actually can heal a fatty liver.
Eat beets and beet greens. This is a SUPERFOOD for your liver. Warning: beets will make your stool a burgundy color, and may turn your urine pink-ish. Don’t worry, this is normal and beets are a great test of your “transit time” (the time it takes to make it all the way through your GI tract. Normal = between 18 and 24 hours.)
2. Support your detoxification pathways by stimulating your lymphatic system - your detox highway. The lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump (like your heart is the pump for your circulatory system.) The following actions will stimulate the elimination of toxins from your body via sweat & stool:
Jumping up and down (jumprope, trampoline, running/jogging)
IonCleanse Foot Bath
Taking a cold shower (cryotherapy)
Exercising - skin is your largest organ and when you sweat, you are releasing toxins through your skin
3. Avoid these as much as you can
Alcohol - it raises blood sugar and is considered a “toxin” to the liver
Toxins like glyphosate - (Round UP - weed killer applied to non-organic grains such as wheat, corn & soy)
Medications and over the counter pain relievers put stress on our liver. We are inundated with toxins that are impacting our liver. When the liver can’t function well, it can’t get rid of the toxins that we’re inundated with. So it becomes a vicious cycle of having issues with our detoxification system in our body.
Environmental Working Group website is an excellent resource for everyone. It's loaded with accurate information about how you can reduce your exposure to toxins in food, household cleaning products, personal care products, etc. This is a great place to start!
DON’T GUESS, TEST!
Your primary care physician can order a “Complete Metabolic Panel” which includes these four markers of liver health. Ideally, your numbers should be in the range(s) below, but of course, there are many variables that affect these values. Be sure to have a conversation with your PCP about your lab results.
Name Ideal value range
Albumin 4.0 - 5.0
AST 10 - 20
ALT 10 - 20
Alkaline Phosphatase 45 - 90
N-acetylcysteine - it boosts glutathione, and it helps the liver to regenerate glutathione, which is what’s depleted often with fatty liver.
Dandelion Root Tea
As you can see, there's quite a bit that you can do on your own to support your lovely liver and restore it's health and function. Your liver has over 500 jobs to do each and every day, so the more you love the liver, the happier it will be.
This article does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. If you’re looking for help in your journey, seek out a qualified medical practitioner. If you’re looking for a functional medicine practitioner, you can visit ifm.org and search their Find a Practitioner database. It’s important that you have someone in your corner who’s trained, who’s a licensed healthcare practitioner, and can help you make changes, especially when it comes to your health. Before you head to your favorite store to stock up on any of these supplements, please check in with a professional for advice on brands, dosages, and formulas that are right for you. A nutritionist can guide you based on your current medications and/or supplements, health conditions, symptoms, and provide an easy to follow, step by step individualized plan for you.