Fatty Liver (Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease)

You may have been directed to this page because you have been told you have a condition called 'Fatty Liver'.  This can be divided into Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Alcoholic Fatty Liver.  This page is about NAFLD, which  is considered part of metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance (please see the Metabolic syndrome page for more information).  In some people, certain medications can, rarely, cause NAFLD.  

NAFLD is thought to occur in 1 in 4 adults in the UK, and in up to 4 out of 5 people who are overweight or obese.

The great news is, that no matter your genetic make up, addressing lifestyle factors of metabolic health can improve your physical health, mental health, general wellbeing and in some cases reverse fatty liver as well as other metabolic conditions you may have been diagnosed with!

What Does the Liver Do?

  • Stores and releases glucose   
  • Stores iron and vitamins 
  • Makes clotting factors 
  • Filters blood: detoxifies chemicals and metabolises drugs Removes alcohol, toxins, medicines from body 
  • Produces cholesterol and triglycerides 
  • Makes bile which helps break down fat. 

This flow chart shows how high blood glucose causes more insulin release, storing glucose in the body as fat, including in the liver and pancreas ( a normal physiological process).  In some people this system is overloaded, which can lead to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.  

This video helps explain fatty liver.  It is done by a private clinic but your on General Practice Team can help you manage this.   

Want more information?

  • Check out the Metabolic Health, Lower Carb and Lower Carb (The Science) sections on the website 
  • Speak to your GP, Diabetes Nurse or Social Prescriber
  • Check out the following website for other information:  Patient.co.uk Site on NAFLD Here 

Is NAFLD A Problem?

Having a 'fatty liver' can be a consequence and cause of resistance to insulin.  This can contribute to a number of conditions as part of metabolic syndrome e.g. Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity.  This can be improved, and sometimes completely reversed with dietary and lifestyle changes.

Most people don't have specific symptoms from the liver itself, but some people can get right upper abdominal pain or feel fatigued.  More often it is picked up in blood tests, followed up with an ultrasound scan. 

For a small number of people, the build up of fat can lead to serious liver disease, with inflammation and fibrosis.  Occasionally severe fibrosis can cause cirrhosis and liver failure.  Most do not progress in this way - your GP can monitor different liver blood tests to try to identify those people more at risk of this.     

This video helps to explain NAFLD.  

So where is the good news? 

What can I do about it?

 We can each optimise our own metabolic health, improve or reverse fatty liver and feel better, by looking at different aspects of lifestyle.  

  • Nutrition: Eat ‘real food’, avoid processed foods, lower sugary foods and starchy carbohydrates.   Include essential 'healthy' natural fats.  Our lower carbohydrate page gives some helpful information on different aspects of healthy eating and drinking.  There are links to some alternative switches too.     
  • Physical Activity: Move more, be less sedentary 
  • StressReduce stressors on mental and physical health
  • Sleep:  Optimise sleep.  Check out our Resource resource.

This website does not provide personal medical advice.

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