Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition where excess fat is stored in the liver, but the cause is not alcohol. When fatty liver is caused by heavy alcohol use, it is called alcohol-associated liver disease.
There are two types of NAFLD. When you just have excess fat stored in your liver, it is referred to as nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL). When there is both fat storage and inflammation leading to liver damage, it is referred to as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).1
In some cases, NASH can cause inflammation and extensive scarring (cirrhosis) that is so severe it leads to liver failure and liver transplant. Fortunately, there are some fatty liver home remedies that may help to slow progression of the illness and reverse some of the damage, even if they do not cure it.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Sticking to a healthy, plant-based diet and getting regular exercise can keep fat from building up in your liver. That’s because the major risk factors for NAFLD are obesity and diabetes, both of which are tied to our weight.
It’s estimated that rates of NAFLD may be 90% in obese people and 50% in people with diabetes. Because obesity and diabetes are so prevalent in developed countries, approximately 30% of adults in the developed world have NAFLD. Fortunately, some of this damage appears to be reversible if you take off the extra pounds.
If you are overweight or obese, the American College of Gastroenterology advises that losing 10% of your body weight will have a positive impact on your liver.
Multiple studies have shown that coffee may protect against metabolic syndrome, which seems to go hand-in-hand with NAFLD. This may be because of its anti-inflammatory effects or because it inhibits the deposition of fat in the liver. More research is needed, but both animal and human experiments have shown a lower prevalence of NAFLD in coffee drinkers.
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates health claims about both supplements and medications. It’s important to note that the FDA has not approved the claim that milk thistle improves liver health. Before you begin taking any kind of herb, you should talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about taking supplements safely and whether there are any interactions with your current medications.