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Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease And Obesity – Are You At Risk?

By Expert HERWriter
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are you at risk for obesity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease? Hemera/Thinkstock

A woman in her mid-forties goes to see her primary care physician for routine fasting lab work and to discuss weight loss. It had been several years since she has had any sort of physical due to a lack of insurance.

When her results returned, they showed an elevation in her liver enzymes without obvious cause as she did not regularly use medications, drink alcohol, or have a history of drug use. An abdominal ultrasound was ordered and it reported "several areas of fatty infiltrate consistent with fatty liver disease".

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition where an excessive accumulation of fats (such as triglycerides) build up in the liver cells known as hepatocytes.

It is most commonly caused by obesity, type II diabetes, elevated cholesterol/triglycerides, and/or elevated insulin. However, certain medications can cause it, such as methotrexate, corticosteroids, tamoxifen, and amiodarone.

NAFLD typically does not have any symptoms but in some cases a sufferer may experience pain in the upper right area of their abdomen.

A more serious result is the development of cirrhosis, resulting in fibrosis and scar tissue. This can render the liver cells inefficient over time to the point that a liver transplant may be required.

Treatment of NAFLD is varied but most often incorporates weight loss strategies, cessation of alcohol and/or medications that may be worsening the situation, diabetes control, and liver protection.

Changing lifestyle habits to lower triglycerides include the elimination (or extreme moderation) of foods containing fructose and sugar, simple carbohydrates, and adding in a good quality omega-3 fatty acid at a therapeutic level of 2000-3000mg per day.

Significantly increasing fiber may help bind up excess cholesterol while balancing insulin and glucose levels.

The commonly accepted recommendation for fiber intake is 25-30 grams per day. This can come from fiber powders, ground flax seeds, beans and lentils, whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa, and of course eating plenty of vegetables.

Consider supplements such as choline to help with liver function and protection, inositol to also improve liver function and support detoxification, and alpha lipoic acid to protect the liver and slow lipid accumulation within the cells.

Medications may include those to stabilize diabetes or improve elevated insulin levels.

Talk with your health care provider about the best options for improving NFLD.


1. Secondary Causes of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Web. 28 July, 2012.

2. Review Article: Fructose in Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Web. 28 July, 2012.

3. Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Web. 28 July, 2012.

4. Choline: an important nutrient in brain development, liver function and carcinogenesis. Web. 28 July, 2012.

Reviewed July 30, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

New research shows that a form of vitamin E called tocotrienols can help NFLD patients. Tocotrienols may either slow the progression of liver disease or enable a patient to cut back on therapies, which are often not well tolerated. You can find tocotrienols in supplement form... otherwise they are very abundant in palm fruit oil which you can cook with.

August 7, 2012 - 11:50am
EmpowHER Guest

In the United States, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) cited sixteen studies on milk thistle's effectiveness for treating various types of liver disease. Significant improvements in liver function were found in five of seven studies evaluating the herb for alcoholic liver disease. Milk thistle was most effective for those with mild forms of liver disease. Puristat's Liver Cleanse includes Milk Thistle along with other effective natural ingredients.

Read The Full Article On NAFLD Here >>>

August 3, 2012 - 9:09am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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