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An overburdened liver may be the reason for your weight gain

Belly fat can be a struggle to reduce, and you might feel like nothing works to keep it off.

Yet it isn’t your fault — you’re working hard, it’s just that an overburdened and sluggish liver could be the culprit.

The liver is the body’s fat-burning engine. It becomes polluted and overworked when you eat the wrong foods. Having an overburdened liver prevents it from adequately metabolizing nutrients and fats. It slows down metabolism, causing weight gain and lethargy, leading to more severe health issues. 

The fat and toxins build up in the liver leading to a slower metabolism. Due to this, fat also starts depositing in other parts of the body, causing weight gain.

The good news is that eating the right foods can turn a sick liver into a fat-burning liver. Your liver processes everything you put in your body, so it’s crucial to keep it as healthy as possible.

What does the liver do for your body?

The liver is one of the major organs responsible for performing more than 500 vital functions in the body. Some of these functions include removing foreign substances and removing waste products from the blood, regulating blood glucose levels, creating essential nutrients and more.

It has a complex enzymatic system that ensures we can remove toxicants, metabolic byproducts, and foreign matter from the body. Its primary function is detoxification.

The liver is also where 90% of our cholesterol is made. So if you don’t clean your liver, your body won’t produce good cholesterol. And no amount of statins will reduce that bad cholesterol.

Good skin

A healthy liver is also a precursor to good skin. Many skin conditions — like acne, eczema, and psoriasis — can be linked to poor liver function. When your liver is not doing its job of efficiently breaking down toxins, they must be excreted from your body by means other than your liver. Most often through your skin! Inflammation occurs when excessive toxins build up in the deeper layers of the skin, manifesting as skin conditions.

The pitfalls of a fatty liver

Being overweight or obese, having type 2 diabetes, or having any metabolic syndrome (like high blood pressure) leads to inflammation in the body, increasing your risk for developing a fatty liver. 

Inflammation is the root cause of all diseases, and having a fatty liver is one of the most common forms of chronic liver disease. Most people aren’t even aware until they reach the third or fourth stage of fatty liver. This is because many people do not look or feel sick despite the damage that has been taking place in the liver until it is too late.

Stages Of Liver Failure

Inflammation (Hepatitis): Hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver. In this early stage, the liver is enlarged or inflamed.

Fibrosis (Scarring): Scar tissue begins to replace healthy tissue in the inflamed liver. While fibrosis is reversible there is a point where the damage becomes too great and the liver cannot repair itself.

Cirrhosis (Severe Scarring): Severe scarring has built up, making it difficult for the liver to function properly. Cirrhosis is where your liver is severely scarred and permanently damaged.

End-Stage Liver Disease (ESLD): Liver function has deteriorated to the point where the damage is irreversible other than with a liver transplant.

Liver Cancer: The development and multiplication of unhealthy cells in the liver can occur at any stage of liver failure. However, people with cirrhosis are more at risk.

Two types of fatty liver

Fatty liver can be of two types: alcoholic fatty liver and non-alcoholic fatty liver. 

Alcoholic liver disease

Alcoholic fatty liver accumulates fat in the liver due to heavy alcohol consumption.

Globally, approximately 2 billion people consume alcohol, and upward of 75 million have alcohol-use disorders and are at risk of liver disease caused by alcohol.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the build up of fat in the liver that is not caused by alcohol.

Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease affects about 100 million people in the United States. It is the most common form of liver disease in children and has more than doubled over the past 20 years.

What causes non-alcoholic fatty liver?

Sugar

Fructose is the most common type of sugar in the Standard American Diet. A major source of fructose is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), an inexpensive substitute for cane sugar introduced in the 1970s. 

Today, it’s used to sweeten foods like soda, candy, baked goods, and cereals. Studies have linked excessive consumption of HFCS and other added sugars to health problems like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

What's worse than direct sugar? All the hidden and artificial sugars in packaged and processed foods that people eat daily.

Every time we consume more and more sugar, our body depletes many vitamins and minerals to metabolize that sugar.

Every time we eat more and more sugar, our liver accumulates more fat because of all the inflammation within our body that sugar causes.

The solution to reverse fatty liver is to stop consuming all processed foods and artificial sugars.

Only one organ can metabolize fructose, and that is the liver. 

Deep-fried foods

Consuming excessive amounts of deep-fried foods is one of the quickest ways to achieve a fatty liver. 

Evidence suggests even after just a month of consistently eating fried foods from fast food restaurants, there are significant changes in the liver. Fried foods impact cholesterol levels, the waistline, and the liver and its enzymes.

The changes in liver enzymes are surprisingly similar to the damage seen by hepatitis (inflammation in the liver causing an elevation of liver enzymes), which can ultimately lead to liver failure.

In particular, French fries are one of the most dangerous foods due to the added ingredients. French fries in restaurants are known to have added salt, are deep-fried in rancid oils, and include added sugars.

Why add sugar? Because putting sugar on them makes them golden and crispy.

What you can do to reverse fatty liver

1) Intermittent fasting (14-hour minimum)

As per recent studies, intermittent fasting has an independent and significant benefit on weight loss and improvement of liver enzyme function in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver. Start off slow with a 12-hour gap between dinner and breakfast, and build yourself up to 16-18 hours.

2) Turmeric

Turmeric is a herb that belongs to the ginger family. Its active component, curcumin, has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that work directly on liver pathways. It's been shown that curcumin improves liver function by reducing inflammation and protecting its cells from damage.

Detoxification is one of the liver's primary functions. Phase I and Phase II are two pathways by which the liver removes harmful substances from the bloodstream and neutralizes or excretes them.

  • Phase I uses a group of enzymes called cytochrome P450, which convert toxins into smaller substances to protect the cells from damage. Toxins are then excreted from the body or prepared for further detoxification during Phase II.
  • Phase II focuses on a process called conjugation. It utilizes six different enzyme pathways to transform the toxins from Phase I into substances that can be pushed out of the body by the bile, digestive system, and urine.

    Things usually go wrong in Phase II. This pathway can become sluggish, resulting in inflammation and cell damage, leading to a backup of toxins from Phase I.

    Any inflammation and oxidative stress in the liver can also slow down its functions and lead to brain fog, fatigue, insomnia, headaches and mood swings.

3) Milk thistle 

Silymarin is the active ingredient in milk thistle. It is responsible for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and liver-regenerating properties. 

Your body produces free radical molecules due to essential metabolic processes and functions. In excess, they can be harmful to healthy cells. Silymarin prevents toxins from attaching to liver cells and protects the liver against free radicals. 

In clinical studies, Silymarin has hepatoprotective effects in patients with alcoholic or non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, including cirrhosis. With consumption, the herb acts as a free radical scavenger that modulates enzymes associated with the development of cellular damage, fibrosis and cirrhosis.

There are various forms of milk thistle, such as powder, capsules, pills, and liquid extracts. Powders can be made into teas, smoothies, or blended into water.

The supplement is one of the most commonly used herbal remedies for liver issues in the United States.

Make sure to always speak to a practitioner or doctor to make sure it’s right for you.

4) Tackle the basics

Eat whole foods: Make the switch to vegetables, fruit, and whole grains instead of packaged and processed foods. Studies show that crucial plant foods might be helpful for the liver, including garlic, ginger, onions, beets, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, carrots, leafy greens, papayas, and pomegranates.

Regularly exercise: Exercise burns carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, allowing the liver to more efficiently process them. Obesity and visceral fat increase the risk of developing a non-alcoholic fatty liver. 

Stay hydrated: Simply drinking more water keeps those toxins moving and helps detoxify. By drinking 2-3 litres of water a day, you can support the detox process by flushing out toxins.

Get proper sleep: The liver does most of its work while you sleep. It’s best to fall asleep by midnight so your liver can focus on its cleansing function. In traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is at its peak detox stage between 1-3 am. This is when the liver gets down to work, processing the day’s nutrients and detoxifying the day’s toxin load. 

5) Elite Health's Naltrexone 

Naltrexone, a medication that reduces cravings, is primarily used to help narcotic and alcohol dependents.

When combined with Bupropion, Naltrexone has been effective in treating obesity by improving liver enzymes. Bupropion, an antidepressant, helps people lose weight by reducing their desire for food and suppressing appetite.

As with anything, this regimen is always used in conjunction with dietary and lifestyle factors.



 

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