There are two main forms of fatty liver disease:
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD): Fat buildup in the liver that is not linked to drinking alcohol.
- Alcoholic fatty liver: Fat buildup in the liver due to drinking large amounts of alcohol.
There are several risk factors for fatty liver disease including being overweight, having Type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance and having metabolic syndrome.
There are several signs and symptoms of fatty liver, although not all of these may be present. In fact, you may not even realize you have a fatty liver.
Here are some common symptoms:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Slight pain or fullness in the right or center abdominal area
- Elevated levels of liver enzymes, including AST and ALT
- Elevated insulin levels
- Elevated triglyceride levels
If fatty liver progresses to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH, the following symptoms may develop:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Moderate to severe abdominal pain
- Yellowing of eyes and skin
It’s important to see your doctor regularly for standard exams and blood tests that can diagnose fatty liver at the early, reversible stage. Fatty liver may cause subtle symptoms and is often detected by blood tests. NASH usually involves more pronounced symptoms, such as abdominal pain and feeling unwell.
Dietary Strategies For Getting Rid Of Fatty Liver
There are several things you can do to get rid of fatty liver, including losing weight and cutting back on carbs. What’s more, certain foods can help you lose liver fat.
1. Lose Weight And Avoid Overeating If Overweight Or Obese
Weight loss is one of the best ways to reverse fatty liver if you are overweight or obese.
2. Cut Back On Carbs, Especially Refined Carbs
It may seem as though the most logical way to address fatty liver would be to cut back on dietary fat. However, studies have shown that consuming diets low in refined carbs may help reverse non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFLD). These include low-carb, Mediterranean and low-glycemic-index diets.
3. Include Foods That Promote Loss of Liver Fat
In addition to cutting back on carbs and avoiding excess calorie intake, there are certain foods and beverages that may be beneficial for fatty liver: Research suggests that eating foods high in monounsaturated fatty acids like olive oil, avocados and nuts may promote liver fat loss. Whey protein, green tea, and soluble fiber are other foods that may promote loss of liver fat.
4. Exercise That Can Help Reduce Liver Fat
Physical activity can be an effective way to decrease liver fat. Studies have shown that engaging in endurance exercise or resistance training several times a week can significantly reduce the amount of fat stored in liver cells, regardless of whether weight loss occurs.
5. Supplements That May Improve Fatty Liver
Results from several studies suggest that certain vitamins, herbs, and other supplements may help reduce liver fat and decrease the risk of liver disease progression. However, in most cases, experts say that further research is required to confirm this. In addition, it’s important to speak with your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you are taking medication.
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
Cleveland Clinic. Fatty Liver Disease. Retrieved July 29, 2019, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15831-fatty-liver-disease
American Liver Foundation. Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Retrieved July 29, 2019, from https://liverfoundation.org/for-patients/about-the-liver/diseases-of-the-liver/non-alcoholic-fatty-liver-disease/
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease & NASH. Retrieved July 29, 2019, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/nafld-nash/all-content