Fatty Liver

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-05-13 (EDT)

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.[1] 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.[2]

Related Conditions

Fatty liver is typically associated with other conditions such as:

Diagnostic Testing

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


Common Symptoms

Fatty liver disease is typically asymptomatic or may include the following symptoms:

  • fatigue
  • 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.

Naturopathic Treatment

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.

Naturopathic Therapies for Fatty Liver include:

  • 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.[7]


Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND [1]

  1. Adams LA, Angulo P, Lindor KD (2005) Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease CMAJ; Vol172(7):899-905.
  2. Cohen JC, Horton JD, Hobbs HH (2011 Jun) Human fatty liver disease: old questions and new insights Science; Vol332(6037):1519-23 PMID: 21700865.
  3. Obika M, Noguchi H (2012) Diagnosis and evaluation of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease Exp Diabetes Res;Vol2012:145754 PMID: 22110476.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Gaby AR (2011) Nutritional Medicine. Fritz Perlberg Publishing.
  5. Prousky Jonathan (2008) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Clinical Nutrition CCNM Press.
  6. Bone Kerry 2007 The Ultimate Herbal Compendium, A Desktop Guide For Herbal Prescribers Phytotherapy Press, Australia
  7. Wang YX, Wang LT, Gao YQ, Sun XH, Zhang B, He JY, Wen YJ, Zhang XK, Zhao YP, Zhao QE (2005 Feb) [Epidemic survey on TCM syndrome typing and preliminary discussion on TCM etiology and pathogenesis of fatty liver] [Article in Chinese] Zhongguo Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi; Vol25(2):126-30 PMID: 15768875.