What is Fatty Liver?
Fatty liver, also known as hepatic steatosis, refers to the accumulation of excess fat in liver cells, resembling the origin of the term “fatty liver” in the context of food, like “foie gras.”
The most common causes of fatty liver include:
- Alcohol abuse: Known as alcoholic fatty liver, often referred to as alcoholic liver, caused by excessive alcohol consumption
- Obesity: When the intake of dietary fat exceeds the body’s needs, causing the liver to accumulate excess fat
What to Do If You Have Fatty Liver?
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease poses a serious threat to health, becoming the second most common liver disease after viral hepatitis. The incidence is continually rising, and the onset age is getting younger. Due to various reasons, it leads to the gradual accumulation of fat tissue in the liver. If fat constitutes more than 5% of the liver’s weight or if more than 50% of liver cells show signs of fat degeneration, it is classified as fatty liver, a reversible condition. However, if the excess fat further causes inflammation, swelling, and hardening of the liver, it becomes an irreversible condition. Currently, there is no direct medication for the treatment of fatty liver.
Management of fatty liver disease involves dietary adjustments, weight reduction, and the use of supplements. Dietary changes include consuming more fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains rich in fiber while reducing added sugars, salt, trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fats. An alcohol-free, low-fat, and low-calorie diet can help reduce weight and lower the risk of fatty liver .
Recommended Supplements for Fatty Liver Health
Apart from a low-calorie diet, certain supplements extracted from natural foods may alter the course of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is believed to be associated with an excessive intake of omega-6 and a deficiency of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Deep-sea fish oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, can help improve liver fat levels.
Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma)
Reishi mushroom is an effective fungus with a history of several thousand years in traditional Chinese medicine. It contains 400 different bioactive compounds with various potential effects, including immune modulation, anti-inflammation, anti-tumor, antibacterial, antiviral, antidiabetic, and antioxidant activities. In a clinical trial involving 42 healthy individuals, a Reishi extract rich in triterpenoids and carbohydrates reduced oxidative damage to the liver and even reversed mild fatty liver conditions.
Reishi has a hepatoprotective effect against moderate alcohol-induced liver damage in rats and can protect the liver from damage in animals infected with malaria, effectively suppressing malaria infection .
Green tea is a highly healthy beverage, rich in antioxidants and nutrients, with powerful effects on the body. These include improving brain function, reducing fat, lowering cholesterol, aiding sleep, reducing the risk of cancer, and many other impressive benefits. Studies are ongoing to determine if green tea can reduce fat storage in the liver and improve liver function.
Data from the analysis of four studies show that green tea supplementation has a significant effect on changing ALT and AST. Beneficial effects are observed on BMI, triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL, suggesting that green tea supplementation may have potential benefits for non-alcoholic fatty liver .