As we are growing in technology and getting luxuries at our own peril, we are getting lazy. This is leading to a group of diseases, called lifestyle diseases. This kind of syndrome generally develops due to lethargy, improper diet, fast and junk food and many other negative habits of an individual. One such complication is Fatty liver. It is one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease. Fat is an integral part of our body metabolism. It acts mainly as a shock absorber and provides energy. But an extra layer of fat can be hazardous to many of our vital organs. The liver has some amount of fat. But anything excess acts like a toxin. High-fat content in the liver will put more pressure on the organ’s function. This may lead to degradation of liver cells and a condition called liver cirrhosis may occur.
This is often called the “Silent Killer” as it does not produce any significant symptoms initially. People will know when the damage is already done. The major complications can range from cirrhosis and inflammatory liver called hepatitis. India is a major contributor to liver hepatic diseases. Over 10 lakhs are diagnosed with the liver disease annually and mostly the age group of 30-60 years are targeted. Also, with the rise of obesity and sedentary lifestyle in youth, the average age of liver patients is going down.
What Happens When Your Liver Becomes Fatty?
Liver mainly functions as the primary filters of your body. It is a detoxifying hub where all the harmful elements are broken down into simpler fragments and passed on to the Excretory system. Then those fragmented compounds are flushed from the body either in the form of urine or stool. Apart from that, it is involved in many important activities like cholesterol management, regulation of amino acid in blood, conversion of ammonia to urea, and acts as a reservoir of iron, it fires immune factors and cells and removes the bacteria from the bloodstream. Heart, brain and liver are considered the main organs of our body.
In Fatty liver, there is an excess accumulation of fat. It produces a lot of workload on liver functionality. This leads to conditions such as steato-hepatitis, liver scarring, cirrhosis and finally liver may collapse. There are two kinds of fatty liver namely alcoholic fatty liver and nonalcoholic fatty liver. Obese and diabetic patients are at higher risk of acquiring this disease. Initially, there will be no visible symptoms, but gradually one may feel tiredness, anorexia, itching at the diaphragm of abdomen and heaviness on the upper side of the abdomen.
Several factors like alcohol abuse, sedentary lifestyle, junk food, stressed routine life, irregular sleep patterns and obesity may rise to this silent killer. But like if there is a problem, there will be a solution too. There are many medicines for fatty liver in ayurveda. Let us explore some of them.
The Treatment : Ayurvedic Style
Due to the rapid surge of liver diseases, there is a need for effective and safe treatment. So what can be the best ayurvedic treatment for fatty liver? It is a well-known fact that Ayurveda has medicine for many systemic and local infections. It can treat fatty liver also. Ayurveda along with medicinal herbs and dietary guidance can cure and protect the liver from excess fat accumulation. In ayurveda, the liver is termed as “Yakrut” and any disease related to it is called Yakrutodar roga. Below are some of the options which act as ayurvedic treatment for fatty liver.
Many herbal remedies either in single or in combination available for the treatment of liver disease. Medicinal herbs like Bhumyamalaki, Punarna, Kasani, Bhringraj and Kalamegh can act as an excellent ayurvedic remedy for fatty liver. They mainly help the liver in regulating enzyme production and functioning. They are antioxidants and prevent the liver from damage by scavenging the radicals and help in countering the toxins produced due to any injury or infection.
One of the symptoms of liver infection is loss of appetite. Appetite inducing tonic or enzyme can help to prevent this condition. Also, it is important to prevent the damage of liver cells once the infection is established. There are many commercialised therapeutic ayurvedic medicines available in the market which can reduce liver cirrhosis, increase appetite. Few of the medicines with Trade names like Liv 52, Forestica syrup, Lyvomyn tablets are being used by doctors to treat fatty liver. However, the choice of such medicine is subjected to the advice of an expert medical practitioner.
Pitta Pacifying Diet
Liver imbalance falls under Pitta Dosha. One can try the Pitta pacifying diet to keep the liver condition in check. One can take food that can calm the fiery element of Pitta. Using Ghee in moderate quantities can soothe the Pitta.
Helpful Tip: Do not burn the ghee or smoke the ghee or else it might lose its healing capacity.
Try natural fruit juices, green cooked vegetables, lassi and grains that can become part of your diet. Try avoiding hot, spicy food which can imbalance your Pitta Dosha.
Consult an expert Ayurvedic Dietician for your Pitta diet plan.
- Avoid saturated fats in your diet: Saturated fats are difficult to metabolise and make the liver overworked. So avoid food like red meat, egg yolk, cheese, carbonated beverage, juices or candy with high sugar contents. Deep-fried foods are a strict no.
- Vitamin Intake: They are the micronutrient that helps in smooth functioning of the organ. One such Vitamin E, can be used with other liver treating supplements. However, there is not enough proof whether it can work alone or need a synergistic effect. Sunflower seeds, almonds and olives are good sources of vitamin E.
- Food Helping in Digestion: Indian Gooseberry (amla) have many medicinal properties. They are rich in vitamin C and with high fiber content. They aid in good digestion. Aloe Vera juice has several ingredients which helps break down sugar and helps in digestion. Cooked rice water contains many minerals which can aid in fighting constipation and bowel movement.
- Try Whole Unprocessed or Minimally Processed Food: Whole food grains or fruits contain fibre which is good for digestion. Also, it retains most of the nutrients and is not lost during processing and packaging. Try eating fruits, green leafy vegetables, whole grains like oats and brown rice.
Apart from controlling your food habits, there are other precautions one can take to keep your liver healthy and free from any complications.
- Weight Loss: It is quite a basic thing to understand that excess weight always puts more stress on your body organs. Their functioning becomes difficult. The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases ( AASLD) 2017 guidelines suggest losing weight can significantly improve the Non-alcoholic fatty acid liver disease. They suggest losing 3 to 5 % of body weight to avoid or slow down fat buildup in the liver. Weight loss can be achieved by either exercising, dietary restrictions or keeping fast. For all these things one needs to plan out what works best for them. It is advisable for them to seek help from an expert.
- Fat Cutter Drinks: Black coffee, Ginger Black tea can be consumed for the benefits of the liver. They are antioxidants and can prevent liver damage, metabolise fat and several components of coffee and tea help in enzyme production in the liver helpful to the body.
- Avoid Liver Irritants: There are certain substances that act as irritants to the liver and cause damage to the hepatic cells. Medicine induced liver damage is not unknown. Acetaminophen used for the treatment of cold and flu can damage liver cells. Prolonged and unregulated use of anti analgesic, antibiotics can also cause liver damage. If you are allergic to any such medication or have weak liver then please consult your doctor before its use. Alcohol is a well-known liver irritant.
- Change in lifestyle: Be active in your daily life. For small routine activities do not take help of any technology whether it is buying milk and grocery from a local shop or buying vegetables from the market. Avoid vehicles if your travelling distance is not more than 1 or 2 km. Play physical sports like cricket, tennis, volleyball or basketball. Do light cardio exercise. All these activities will help burn calories and break down fat.
It is best to avoid medicines for liver betterment. If the condition is not acute one can always try for weight and diet management through Ayurveda and Yoga. That works best for a healthy life. Be physically active, burn calories, cut down on high fat and sugary food. Also, try to stay away from alcohol or any other liquor. However, one can consult an ayurvedic expert for best ayurvedic liver tonic for fatty acid and supplements that one can take in a routine. Remember medicine is the cure and dietary and lifestyle management is prevention. So,
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!.