World Liver Day is observed on the 19th of April every year to spread awareness on liver health! The liver, the largest solid organ, and the one that carries out many of the complex vital functions is often abused – be it by alcohol consumption, excessive medicines, sedentary lifestyle etc. This main detox organ of the body is responsible for detoxifying various metabolites, metabolising alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs and also removing toxins from our body. It also plays a very important role in the digestion of dietary fats, controlling blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and much more. This visceral organ even has the capacity to regrow and regenerate itself from the damage to a reasonable extend, yet it is one of the most abused organs of the human body – blame the sedentary lifestyle or alcoholism!
One of the most rampant lifestyle disorders seen among most of us is – Fatty Liver or Fatty infiltration of the Liver. According to various reports and studies, one in every 3 urban population has a fatty liver condition – of course with a wide variability of prevalence across India. A fat build-up of more than 5% on the liver causes this condition where the liver becomes inflamed and leaks out various enzymes into the bloodstream. Fatty liver is commonly caused either due to a poor lifestyle (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver) or excessive alcohol consumption (Alcoholic Fatty Liver).
Detecting a Fatty Liver Condition
A Grade 1 Fatty liver can go undetected as it is mostly asymptomatic. Most people with this condition are unaware of this until a blood test – LFT (Liver Function Test) or an ultrasound scan (USG Abdomen Scan) is taken. Even though Grade 1 fatty liver is very common and not dangerous in most cases, it should not be taken so lightly. Care should be taken to make sure that it does not progress to more serious conditions such as fibrosis or cirrhosis. It is also very much correlated and coexists with other lifestyle diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol and other cardiovascular diseases. A sedentary lifestyle, uncontrolled eating, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking are all main factors that lead to such serious health issues.
In a Non-Alcoholic fatty liver condition, the fat deposition on the liver tissues is either because of an excessive calorie intake, or lack of any physical activity and in most cases, it is a combination of both! As the fat gets deposited on the liver, it becomes inflamed and leaks out various enzymes like SGOT, SGPT, GGT, ALP etc into the blood thereby causing elevated enzyme levels in the blood. While a routine blood test such as LFT will give an indication of these parameters, an appropriate diagnosis of fatty liver has to be done by a medical expert. This is because, some of these enzymes are also secreted by other tissues like muscles, heart etc and hence elevated levels of liver enzymes in the blood can also mean other conditions related to the bile duct, bone health, heart issues, muscle damage etc. An LFT blood report has to be read by correlating various readings with one another to conclusively diagnose fatty liver, and in some cases in conjunction with an ultrasound scan
Lifestyle Changes to Reverse Fatty Liver
The most important means to improve liver health and reverse fatty liver is through a balanced diet and exercise. A healthy diet doesn’t mean crash dieting or avoiding carbohydrates and having only protein-rich food; rather it requires a well rounded & balanced approach with adequate protein, fat and carbs, with other vitamins & minerals, but slightly lesser than the body’s calorie expenditure in a day. Such a measured calorie deficit diet with adequate exercises, will not only help in reversing the fatty liver but also improve the body composition and reverse many other lifestyle disorders, among other things.
Having only salads, skipping meals and crash dieting to lose weight often does more harm than good in the long term. Such an extreme calorie deficit diet will deplete the muscles in the body which is metabolically active tissue. In other words, with a crash diet, a person might lose muscles and end up with lower metabolic parameters, inviting more issues in the future. A sensible and healthy calorie deficit to reverse fatty liver, should not be beyond 500 calories per day!
Including protein and fibrous vegetables in the diet will improve the satiety quotient of the food in such a calorie deficit diet, apart from also reducing the glycemic index. 0.8 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is the norm for protein intake. However, since an individual with fatty liver may most probably have other lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cholesterol, uric acid, hypertension, etc, the diet should be conducive to all these medical conditions. For example, a low-carb high-protein diet may not auger well for someone with a high uric acid or has diabetic kidney disease.
Exercises also need to be structured based on the physical conditions of the person. For example, jogging is not recommended for an obese person or someone with knee pain or arthritis. Similarly, lifting heavy or weight training is not recommended for a person with piles (haemorrhoids). The unfavourable body composition should be tackled in such a way that the person loses body fat without reducing the muscle mass (lean mass). Reduction in body fat and improvement in muscle mass will lead to better metabolic parameters by improving overall health.
Food rich in antioxidants, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, etc will reduce the oxidative stress on the liver and reduce inflammation. This coupled with a structured calorie deficit diet with the right macronutrient portioning and physical activity will help in improving liver health.
Prevention is always better than cure
It is never too early to start exercising and eating right. A healthy lifestyle is imperative not just for liver health but has become more of a necessity in today’s pandemic world riddled with new diseases and complications. Combination of a well-balanced diet, the right amount of physical activity, alongside rest & adequate sleep are the three primary aspects of reversing many lifestyle diseases, improving health and even immunity! These three aspects when taken care will go a long way than many of the immunity booster pills!
Fatty Liver Reversal Program at NuvoVivo
Fatty despoistion and resultant inflammation of liver can be fully reversed in the intial stages. i.e upto NASH (Non Alcoholic Steato Hepatitis). Similarly considerably improvement can be made in liver health even in case of liver fibrosis through a controlled and structed diet and exercise plan.
At NuvoVivo, the fatty liver management program is designed to help you achieve this goal. In this online program, we will design the calorie and nutrition plan for each person based on their eating habits and preferences. This calorie plan will change routinely (mostly, once in 2 weeks) based on the centimeters lost around the belly and abdomen and also the weight lost in kg. A home or gym based exercise plan is also provided based on the physical conditions of the person. Apart from the diet and exercise, routine followups and handholding will facilitate an easy switch to healthier habits resulting in an overall improvement in health.
More about our Fatty liver management program @ https://www.nuvovivo.com/programmes/fatty-liver-management/
Fatty Liver Reversal Program – Explained
Published : [email protected] - 04/20/2021
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