Q. Dear Terry, “My sister just found out she has a fatty liver. To be honest, she’s not in the greatest health. We are both really worried about her liver and she is ready to make some healthy changes. Are there any herbs she can take to help her liver? And I would like to know if I can take things to prevent fatty liver?” – Kayla M., Norfolk, VA
A. Dear Kayla, The liver is one of the hardest-working organs in the body and, because of that, it needs specific nutrients to remain active and effective. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD or “fatty liver”) affects at least 30% of the adult population in the United States and is quickly becoming the most widespread, chronic liver condition in the world. NAFLD is an accumulation of fat in the liver and is largely influenced by our diet and lifestyle (exercise being one of the most important). This is good news because it means we can positively influence this condition with what we put into our bodies.
Whether you have NAFLD or you want to prevent it from occurring, I believe it’s important to restrict all sugar and foods made with sugar, refined flour, and carbohydrates. That means soft drinks, sweetened and diet, crackers, candy, cookies, bread, pasta, cakes, and ice cream. While I understand this takes a huge effort, it can make a real difference. Click on my healthy diet plan for more information. For additional information, I also recommend checking out the following websites: www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com, www.drperlmutter.com, and www.dietdoctor.com. Your sister should also read the books, Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter and Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis.
One of my favorite herbs to support the liver is andrographis. It has been widely used in both Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine for combatting liver diseases. Research has demonstrated that andrographis can help prevent fat from accumulating in the liver and reduce biomarkers of liver inflammation. A separate study found that andrographolide (a compound from andrographis) can be as effective as silymarin (from milk thistle) at reducing the damage of toxins in the liver. Andrographis can also boost the activity of our own antioxidants: glutathione and superoxide dismutase. I believe that taking 400 mg of andrographis twice per day would be an excellent choice for liver health, or once per day for prevention. Look for an andrographis standardized to andrographolide content.
As you may know, curcumin is one of my favorite ingredients, and research has shown great promise for its effects against NAFLD. Curcumin has been shown in scientific studies to reduce fatty deposits in the liver, prevent the progression of NAFLD, protect liver cells from oxidative stress, and help keep our own antioxidants functioning optimally. I prefer curcumin enhanced with turmeric essential oil. I would take 750 mg of curcumin twice per day for NAFLD, or once per day for prevention.
Additionally, you could consider adding grape seed extract. French grape seed extract contains compounds called OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins) that help protect liver cells from oxidative stress and damage. Look for small, absorbable OPCs since these are the kind that are best utilized by the body. I would take French grape seed extract twice per day, or once per day for prevention.
Terry . . . Naturally
[Connect on Social Media and sign up for my E-Newsletter]
[Choose from topics below to personalize articles fed to your home page]