Hi Doc T, What are the dangers of having a fatty liver? Is it anymore dangerous than having fat on other areas of your body? Thanks, Rainy
Hi Doc T,
What are the dangers of having a fatty liver? Is it anymore dangerous than having fat on other areas of your body?
Looking at this forum post, it would appear that there is some sort of belief in the medical profession that water fasting is linked to fatty liver. I quote:
"On my 17 day fast I did something stupid: I cut down my water intake, attempting to lose weight faster. This put a terrible strain on my kidneys, who were trying to flush out my system. I had a buildup of urea that led to an ugly kidney infection, which was the end of that fast.
That was five years ago. I had a physical last August, and a liver test determined that I had something called "fatty liver" (aka "non-alcoholic cirrohsis of the liver"). The internal med doctor asked "do you do any prolonged fasting?" I told him I did but not in years and he said this occaisionally was the result."
I would be interested to know where this belief comes from, and to know if there is any justification in it. On other pages I found, this one that says sugar is the main cause of non alcoholic fatty liver:
"Non-alcoholic fatty liver is the most common liver disease in America, affecting 20% of the population. The major cause is not medication, a virus, or pollution. It is the most abundant toxin in our diet: sugar. Increases in sugar or refined carbohydrate consumption increase insulin and insulin resistance, which leads to the accumulation of fat in the hepatocytes. Increased fat inside the hepatocytes is produced from sugar, refined flour products, and high fructose corn syrup. Excess sugar calories also increase oxidative stress that further damage the mitochondria. Damaged mitochondria can’t effectively burn fat or calories, which leads to a slower metabolism and more weight gain. A fatty liver further impairs detoxification. A fatty liver is also an inflamed liver; it is called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a form of hepatitis caused by insulin resistance. A fatty liver produces more inflammatory cytokines, free radicals, and leads to more mitochondrial damage"
It may be that fasting just shows up an already present problem. Try this google search to see how to get rid of a fatty liver. As an example, see this about.com page:
"Sticking to a healthy, plant-based diet and getting regular exercise can keep fat from building up in your liver."
Here's another google search I did, and this came up with a clue as to where the link between fasting and fatty liver may have come from:
"Fatty liver is the build-up of fat in liver cells. It usually is caused by obesity but may be due to diabetes, high triglycerides and, in some cases, alcohol abuse, rapid weight loss, and malnutrition"
Bingo! A search for repid weight loss and fatty liver brings up lots of entries, here are some quotes from pages close to the top of that search:
"What is Steatohepatitis? The term hepatitis means inflammation of and damage to the liver cells... It can also occur with rapid weight loss"
The following quote refers to Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
"Excessively rapid weight reduction or starvation techniques can actually worsen or even precipitate progression to cirrhosis and liver failure"
But the Wikipedia article says these findings are controversial:
"Weight loss: gradual weight loss may improve the process in obese patients; rapid loss may worsen NAFLD. The bad effect of rapid weight loss is controversial: the results of a meta-analysis showed that the risk of progression is very low."
I have done many fasts and I googled the symptoms to see if I have ever had a problem. However there are no symptoms, it appears.
I have yet to find anythig concrete that says fasting causes a fatty liver, the indicators are that it is caused by unhealthy eating. Common sense dictates that eating a healthy plant based diet pior to fasting (and afterwards) will ensure that all goes well. That is what I do anyway.
Hi Chrisb1 and Mouseclick,
I just wanted to thank you both for replying with detailed and valued information. I had no idea. I don't think I have the problem, however, it is always great to learn something new about health.
I completely agree. "Hit & run" member, I'm thinking its the same person you're referring too. What I'm wondering is why they feel the need to do this kind of thing, its beyond me. It must somehow make them feel good to do things like this.