Fatty liver simply describes the accumulation of fat cells in the liver. It is commonly associated with other underlying conditions. In non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, fat accumulation occurs in people who consume little to no alcohol. In the Western world, this condition is emerging as the most common chronic liver condition. It is strongly associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Fatty liver disease is a term used to describe a range of related disorders including hepatic steatosis, and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Steatosis results when an imbalance occurs between triglyceride clearance and deposition. This can progress into fatty liver, NASH, cirrhosis, and hepatitis.
Fatty liver is typically associated with other conditions such as:
- Insulin Resistance
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Diabetes Mellitus
The diagnosis of fatty liver is commonly determined during a routine physical screening. It commonly assessed for directly if any of the symptoms are present or in the presence of any of the related conditions.
- Ultrasound to assess size, density, and homogeneity of the liver
- Other tests include: biopsy, CT scan, MRI
Fatty liver disease is typically asymptomatic or may include the following symptoms:
- pain or discomfort in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen
- Other symptoms may develop including:
- weight loss
- dark urine
- easy bruising
- nausea and vomiting.
The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Fatty Liver is typically a chronic disease and is best treated by treating the underlying conditions that are associated with it. Some specific treatments for fatty liver include:
The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.
- Achieve optimal weight.
- Eliminate or limit sources of refined sugars in the diet.
- Eliminate any potential sources of food allergies or food sensitivities.
- Avoid beverages like Gatorade or Mountain Dew which contain a substance called brominated vegetable oil.
- Avoid Trans Fatty Acids.
- Choose whole grains instead of refined grains as they still retain nutrients which may be beneficial.
- Exercise daily
Naturopathic Therapies for Fatty Liver include:
- Herbs such as Andrographis paniculata, Bupleurum, Dong quai, Globe artichoke, Shisandra chinensis, Milk Thistle.
- A study conducted in China determined that the most common TCM types of Fatty Liver disease included the following: the asthenia Pi-Shen with Gan-stagnation type, the asthenia Pi-Shen type, the asthenia Pi with phlegm-heat type and the unclassified type. The asthenia Pi-Shen with Gan-stagnation type was the commonest one, which accounted to 62.32% of the 503 subjects surveyed.
Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND 
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