Fatty liver is a condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of fats, specifically the triglycerides inside the liver cells. Fatty liver disease is a reversible liver disorder in which diet and lifestyle play an important role.

A fatty liver is often also associated with metabolic health conditions such as Diabetes, PCOS, Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome and High cholesterol levels. More often than not, fatty liver disease doesn’t show any specific symptoms, but is diagnosed by tests once peripheral conditions start to appear.

In this post we will look into the causes and symptoms of fatty liver disease. We will also cover whether it is possible to completely reverse fatty liver and in which cases it can be done?

And lastly, we will go through Ayurvedic treatment for fatty liver disease, covering the best Ayurvedic medicines, liver healthy diet, yoga and Ayurvedic lifestyle tips to restore healthy liver. Let’s begin!

What is Fatty Liver?

A healthy liver stores some fat to carry out metabolic functions that take place inside it. However, when the amount of liver fat increases to 5%-10% of the liver’s weight or more than 30% of liver cells are loaded with fat; it is termed as a fatty liver.

Excess fats inside the liver causes inflammation, deformation and damage to the liver cells.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common liver disorders across the world that affects primarily adults in the age group of 40-60 years. It is estimated that 10-40% of the general population may have fatty liver. And of these, around 15% have severe liver condition that can develop into liver cirrhosis and cancer.

Fatty Liver Disease can happen in two ways:

1. Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Alcoholism with nearly 2-3 drinks per day for women and 3-4 for men or more than 20g/day can also lead to Fatty Liver. However, this condition develops after years of alcohol abuse.

2. Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

In this condition, the liver cannot function to metabolize the fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Obese persons and mainly women have more chances to get affected by this disease.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease usually happens along with obesity and insulin resistance. However, it may well be present in lean people.

The 4 Stages of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease NAFLD

Fatty Liver Disease Progression and Symptoms

Fatty liver disease is progressive disease. Meaning, if you do not treat your liver in time, a fatty liver may lead to permanent damage and scarring to liver cells. It is termed as liver cirrhosis, the last stage of fatty liver disease and the point beyond which you won’t be able to reverse fatty liver.

Here’s how non-alcoholic fatty liver disease progresses and affects liver function.

Stage 1 – Fatty Liver

In the first stage, liver function is compromised due to excessive fat, more than 5% of liver weight. This leads to bloating of liver cells and enlargement of liver. The initial stages of fatty liver disease are usually reversible by changes in diet and lifestyle.

Stage 2 – NASH and Inflammation

However, if liver health is not managed at right time, then fatty liver may progress to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In this stage, excess fat in the liver cells severely affects its normal functioning. They are deformed and displaced causing severe inflammation, leading to pain in the upper right of abdomen.

Stage 3 – Fibrosis

At this stage, permanent damage happens to the liver cells and they stop functioning. The damaged liver cells may be present in one particular area of the liver or may be spread out. The extent of damage and scarred tissues is categorized into stages 0 – 4.

Stage 4 – Cirrhosis

In this stage the scarred tissues permanently replace the normal tissues of the liver. As a result of which, they block the flow of blood and other nutrients to the liver.

Health complications of liver cirrhosis include uncontrolled bleeding, kidney failure, heart diseases, liver cancer, diabetes and eventually, liver failure. That’s why it is so important to take action in time. And not take fatty liver disease lightly.

Symptoms of Fatty Liver

Warning Signs of Bad Liver Health-Unhealthy Liver-min
Symptoms of Fatty Liver

An under performing liver leads to many health symptoms related to poor digestion, nausea, skin rashes and hormone imbalances. However, these signs are fairly generic and may not always indicate fatty liver.

Therefore, when people get affected by this condition, they don’t recognize what they have. But some people feel pain in the middle or right side of their stomach and feel very tired.

  • Nausea
  • Low or no appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Nutritional Deficiencies
  • Muscular pain
  • Enlarged Liver
  • Constant Fatigue
  • Pain in upper right abdominal area

Symptoms of NASH and Fibrosis

The most common signs and symptoms of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and fibrosis (advanced scarring) are:

  • Abdominal swelling (ascites)
  • Enlarged breasts in men
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Enlarged blood vessels just beneath the skin’s surface
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Red palms

Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis and Liver Failure

If fatty liver advances to cirrhosis and liver failure, following symptoms can be observed:

  • jaundice of the skin and eyes
  • an increasingly, fluid-filled abdomen
  • confusion
  • abnormal bleeding
Fatty Liver-Disease 4 Stages

Primary Causes of Fatty Liver

When liver is constantly loaded with alcohol or high-calorie foods, then it may end up storing fats that are more than required. A constant dump of fats on the liver stresses it out and reduces its functioning. This leads to development of fatty liver disease.

The prevalence of liver-related disorders such as fatty liver has increased incidentally in the past couple of decades due to sedentary lifestyles combined with energy-rich diets and high use of chemical-based household products.

Sometimes, genetic causes give rise to liver diseases. And with that, if you carry on with drinking, you will have alcoholic hepatitis, liver failure, cirrhosis, and severe odds of liver cancer.

Usually, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, hepatitis C, liver infections, and medications such as drugs for cancer or heart problems are the triggers for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Factors and Triggers for Fatty Liver Disease

Additionally, here are the causative factors involving diet and lifestyle that make you prone to develop fatty liver in the first place:

  • Too much intake of processed foods or foods that are rich in simple carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour
  • Too much intake of refined fats and processed fats such as margarine, processed cheese, deeply fried foods
  • A sedentary lifestyle with low or no physical activity
  • Insulin Resistance and or Diabetes
  • Alcohol abuse in alcoholic fatty liver
  • Sometimes, side effects of certain medications can cause fatty liver disease, for example, tamoxifen (Nolvadex), methotrexate (Trexall), amiodarone (Pacerone), and valproic acid (Depakote), etc.
  • Prolonged exposure to environmental toxins
  • Rapid weight loss, for example losing 7-10 Kg or more in 1 month
  • Family history of fatty liver
  • Sudden Fatty liver during pregnancy (rare but present in cases where liver function was compromised before conception or during pregnancy)

Treatment of Fatty Liver Disease

Liver inflammation (steato-hepatitis) can give rise to health complications such as liver scarring, liver cancer, and end-stage liver disease.

Though there have been efforts to discover medications and cures for fatty liver, modern medicine yet has little to offer in this regard.

Additionally, research points out to strong evidence for prevention and reversal of fatty liver by lifestyle adaptations. Here are some suggestions for you to start:

  • controlling cholesterol
  • reducing the intake of sugars and saturated fats
  • reducing or avoiding alcoholic beverages
  • losing weight
  • controlling the blood sugar

Ayurvedic medicine, however, has age-proven remedies at the ready for fatty liver. There is an edge in trusting Ayurveda because the treatment options are all-natural. They are tailor-made to suit individuals. There are little to no negative side effects also.

Ayurvedic Treatment to Reverse Fatty Liver

In Ayurvedic medicine, fatty liver can be correlated with Yakrutodar roga (diseases of liver and abdomen). The diseases that are manifested in the abdominal cavity (Udararoga) causing the distension of the abdomen.

Agni (the digestive fire) plays a major role in the pathology. Ayurveda states that low digestive fire leads to poor digestion and toxin build up in the body. This triggers health disorders of digestive system and liver including fatty liver disease.

That’s why the first step to reverse fatty liver in Ayurvedic medicine involves addressing the digestive fire. And once, you ignite your digestive fire with suitable foods, herbs and lifestyle practices, it supports liver function and detoxification.

Additionally, one may need Ayurvedic therapies such as Panchakarma that involve deep cleansing of digestive system. This helps to remove stored fats in the liver and improve its functioning.

Now, let’s look into details of Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle that can help you to achieve that:

1. Fatty Liver Diet

Ayurvedic Diet Tips to Reverse Fatty Liver Disease

Almost everything you eat gets to your liver first. The liver is termed the ‘chemical factory of the body’ for a reason. It is responsible for processing everything you take into your body.

Kapha dosha is the chief of fats. Therefore, increasing Kapha will only worsen the fatty liver. On the other hand, balancing the Kapha dosha can help eliminate Fatty liver.

  • Remove extremely salty, stale, and heavily processed foods
  • Include a variety of fresh vegetables and make them the major portion of the meal
  • Your breakfast should be light
  • Avoid leftovers from the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Increase intake of digestive herbs and spices such as cumin, carom seeds, fennel seeds, ginger and lemon
  • Avoid night time meals. Practice early dinner, which is latest by 7 pm. This will help to provide ample time for proper digestion of the food.
  • Eat fiber-rich foods like cereals, certain fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, peas, and foods containing plant stanols and sterols.

2. Ayurvedic Lifestyle to Naturally Cure Fatty Liver

Ayurveda is more than just a system of medicine. It is a lifestyle. Therefore, in Ayurvedic medicine, it is believed that your health depends to a large extent on how you live.

How should you live to support your liver health?

  • Maintain a daily routine with fixed times of meals and sufficient sleep.
  • Engage in regular exercise on daily basis. Physical activity burns the fat in the body and liver, replacing it with muscles.
  • Stay hydrated with natural drinks such as water and coconut water. Stay away from processed juices and sugary beverages.
  • Weight loss helps to reverse fatty liver. Studies (references below) indicate that weight loss of up to 7% can relieve the symptoms of NASH and give your liver a chance to get rid of the excess fat storage.
  • Always consume freshly prepared meals made from wholesome foods. This will provide you with sufficient antioxidants to fight liver inflammation and support digestive fire.
  • Avoid malnutrition and starvation. If you starve yourself, you force your liver to do extra work pulling down nutrients from the long-term storage and breaking them down to be used for energy.
  • Avoid liver irritants like alcohol, over-the-counter medications, etc.
  • Sleep on time and try to catch on 6-8 hours of sleep every night.
  • Practice mindfulness and stress upon mental wellness by saying no to things/activities that stress you out.
  • Engage in Ayurvedic self care practices of daily massage and application of herbs and oils to stay nourished and calm.

Adoption of a healthy lifestyle to treat the condition can lessen your chances of acquiring it. Liver healthy lifestyle will also help you in keeping other problems like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease under control.

3. Exercise to Reverse Fatty Liver

Regular physical activity and exercise helps to improve fat metabolism and flush toxins from the liver. Exercise is an important part of maintaining healthy liver.

It helps to use up calories stored in body as fat. In addition, it also relieves tension and tones up the muscles of the body.

When you follow a consistent exercise regime, it will help you to reduce fatty liver symptoms. And slowly you will be able to get rid of fatty liver condition.

Walking and Yoga are the best exercises to begin with. However, stay regular with your chosen fitness regime and add complex workouts as and when required.

Here are some ways in which you should stay active:

  • Walking briskly for 30 mins a day is an achievable target that you can begin with.
  • Try as much as possible to not live a sedentary lifestyle. Always take up a chance to move and not sit.
  • Use steps instead of elevators, involve in sports rather than computer/video games and do more physical activity rather than getting things done by others.
  • Perform activities to gain muscle as it helps burn calories faster.
  • Take up volunteering activities in the neighborhood to keep yourself moving. Exercise lightly after each meal.
  • Do not engage in overtly stressful activities. More stress means more cortisol. More cortisol leads to more fat on the liver.

4. Yoga to Reverse Fatty Liver Disease

Yoga Poses to Reverse Fatty liver Disease

Yoga has been around for a long time. It is calming, soothing, and helps improve focus and mental acuity.

Yoga asanas (or yoga poses) are also applied in Ayurvedic medicine to address health concerns.

Benefits of yoga for NAFLD

So, you might wonder, “What can yoga do about fatty liver?” Well, you do stand a lot to gain from regular practice of yoga:

  • Boosts fat metabolism and breaks down tough fats. This helps to get rid of toxic fats that damage the liver.
  • Stimulates the pancreas and liver to promote insulin production. This helps in the regulation of blood sugar levels and indirectly affects that level of stored fats.
  • Improves the release of liver enzymes that aid in detoxification. This enhances liver function and health.
  • Yoga improves hormonal balance and function. This further aids liver function.

Yoga poses to Reverse Fatty Liver

  • Cat cow pose: it’s almost like this yoga asana is made precisely for the liver. It squeezes the region of the abdomen where the liver is found. Cat cow pose can help with liver scarring.
  • Frog pose: This benefits the digestive system as a whole. It also improves blood circulation around the abdominal area.
  • Half Lord of the Fish Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana): It squeezes the abdomen in a way that relaxes the abdominal muscles and the liver. Also, it helps to reduce inflammation in the liver.
  • Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): This has wide-reaching effects on all body systems. It promotes the storage of nutrients in the cells of the body, taking stress off the liver. That also counteracts the effects of insulin resistance.
  • Plow Pose (Halasana): This pose reduces fatigue, improves circulation, enhances metabolism and detoxification.
  • Pranayama: It refers to various breathing exercises. Kapalbhati pranayama and Bhastrika pranayama are known to enhance liver health.

5. Ayurvedic Medicines to Reverse Fatty Liver Disease

Ayurveda suggests bitter tasting herbs and liver healing Ayurvedic medicines to reverse fatty liver. Provided here is a list of herbal formulations and Ayurvedic medicines that enhance functioning of liver, help to remove deposited fats and reduce inflammation throughout the body.

Regular consumption of these Ayurvedic herbs helps to prevent further damage to liver cells. And they also support it for regular functioning.

Hence, these herbs prevent both cirrhosis, which primarily results from presence of dead liver cells all around.

All the Ayurvedic medicines and formulations that have been shared in this post are for information purpose only. All of these are potent Ayurvedic medicines that should be taken under the supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic doctor only. Do not indiscriminately use Ayurvedic herbs as it may cause more harm than benefit.

Different herbs benefit the liver in different ways. A few of them are listed here:

Ayurvedic Medicines to Reverse Fatty Liver

1. Triphala

This herb aids digestion. It is a combination of three herbs: Amla, Behada, and Harad. You stand to gain a lot from Triphala. Here are some health benefits:

  • Boosts metabolism
  • Improves bowel movement
  • Detoxification of body cells
  • Boosts immune system

2. Turmeric

Turmeric is a well-known blood purifier and liver tonic. It comes packed with an abundance of health benefits:

  • Reduces inflammation and prevents infection.
  • Strengthens the immune system against various pathogens.
  • Turmeric improves the function of the liver and removes toxins from the blood.

3. Giloy | Guduchi

Giloy fights infection. Alongside that, it has various health benefits:

  • Detoxification
  • Improves the function of the liver
  • It helps regulate blood sugar levels if consumed routinely.
  • Treats jaundice and hepatitis.
  • It plays a role in regulating blood pressure.

4. Kutki

A common symptom associated with liver disease is poor appetite. Kutki can remove this and improve your appetite. Here are some additional benefits of consuming Kutki:

  • Enhances metabolism
  • It improves digestion and absorption
  • Improves bile production and reduces the risk of Jaundice.

5. Dandelion Flower and Greens

It stimulates secretion of gastric enzymes and promotes the breakdown of fat and cholesterol in the body. It is also a diuretic, which helps the body get rid of excess water weight.

Other herbs include Carom seeds, Neem, Shankhpushpi, Pudina, Ashwagandha, Saunf, and Brahmi.

6. Manage Stress

High levels of mental stress and health conditions such as anxiety and depression are related with poor liver health and high cholesterol levels. In Ayurveda, we do not really separate mind and body.

In fact, Ayurveda states that our mental health is what controls our physical body. That’s why Ayurveda prescribes detailed lifestyle practices and daily routines to manage both physical and mental health.

Manage and lower stress by:

  • Deep breathing exercises and yogic breathing
  • Spending time in nature and with your loved ones
  • Remove and reduce stress triggers
  • Take time off and invest in self care measures
  • Deep body massage

7. Sleep Well

Sleep deprivation affects liver health and fat metabolism. It has been studied that merely 6 hours of sleep loss in a day can significantly increase your chances of getting Diabetes and Fatty liver disease.

Ayurveda suggests the same. Sleep is an essential pillar to health and balance in Ayurveda. And there are ample of guidelines to maintain sleep hygiene.

8. Remove Environmental Toxins

Prevent exposure to environmental toxins and body toxins by practicing a healthy lifestyle.

  • Avoid all plastics and processed foods, which lead to buildup of toxins in the body.
  • Get rid of chemicals based personal care and household products that deposit extra Estrogen in your system.
  • Practice Ayurvedic detox or Panchakarma to clear off the toxins with Ayurvedic herbs and therapies.
  • Remove stimulants such as alcohol and smoking that load your body’s detox pathways.

Take good care of your liver

Your liver is too important to be taken with levity. Take good care of it and live healthily.

Ayurvedic treatment for fatty liver disease offers a natural and holistic approach to regenerate liver cells. It’s not easy and neither it will happen in one day with some quick remedy. However, be assured that you can prevent and reverse fatty liver (in nearly 90% of the cases) with healthy diet and lifestyle alone.

Now we want to hear from you. Do share your feedback on how this post has helped you to start the reversal of fatty liver. And how has been your experience with Ayurvedic medicine. If you have any questions, leave a comment, we will get back you.

FAQ

Can Fatty Liver be cured in Ayurveda?

Yes, you can reverse and cure fatty liver in Ayurveda. The Liver is the only organ in our body that can regenerate itself, provided it is supported with right diet and lifestyle. In fact, liver can regenerate itself even if it damaged uptil 75%.

However, you do not need to wait till that stage. Once you start experiencing symptoms of fatty liver disease, you should immediately make changes to your diet and lifestyle.

If you are ready to give your liver and give your body a chance to survive, then you can completely reverse fatty liver.

Believe me, no other organ can do that!

Is Triphala good for fatty liver disease?

Triphala is a natural treatment for both nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and alcoholic fatty liver disease. Triphala is composed of three fruits: haritaki, vibhitaki and amalaki. Haritaki is a detoxifier and helps to remove toxins from the liver. Vibhitaki helps to reduce inflammation in the liver. Amalaki contains antioxidants that help to protect the liver from damage. Taken together, these three fruits make a powerful triphala formula that can help to heal a fatty liver and improve liver function.

Ayurveda recommends taking triphala daily as a preventive measure for maintaining good health and preventing liver disorders. If you have a fatty liver, you can take triphala twice daily until the condition improves, then you can taper down the intake of Triphala.

How can I make my liver strong in Ayurveda?

There are many ways to make your liver healthy in Ayurveda. One of the most popular is through natural treatment. This can include eating certain foods, taking herbs, and performing detoxifying treatments.

The liver is responsible for cleansing the body of toxins, so it’s essential to keep it functioning optimally. The best way to do this is by eating a balanced diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding processed foods and sugars, and practicing regular detoxification rituals.

If you’re looking for an added boost, there are a few herbs that can help support liver health. These include turmeric, ginger, dandelion, amla, triphala and guduchi.

What is Acute Fatty Liver in Pregnancy?

The acute fatty liver is an uncommon and potentially life-threatening problem of pregnancy. Signs and symptoms occur in the third trimester. These are as follows:

  • constant nausea and vomiting
  • pain in the upper right abdomen
  • jaundice
  • a headache
  • reduced appetite
  • depression
  • fatigue

Pregnant women with these signs or symptoms should consult their doctor.

References

  1. Fighting the Fatty Liver
  2. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  3. Cirrhosis of Liver
  4. REVERSAL OF NAFLD AND THE GLOBAL OBESITY EPIDEMIC
  5. The Diagnosis and Management ofNonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease:Practice Guidance From the AmericanAssociation for the Study ofLiver Diseases
  6. Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease-An Ayurvedic Pragmatic Approach with Its Management
  7. Efficacy of herbomineral compounds and pathya (Ayurvedic dietary regime and physical exercise) in the management of Yakṛt Roga (Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease)
  8. Stress levels linked to risk of liver disease death, study shows
  9. Perceived stress and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in apparently healthy men and women
  10. Losing just six hours of sleep could increase diabetes risk, study finds

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About the Author

Dr. Pawan Bansal (Ayurveda Acharya)

Dr. Pawan Bansal is the Founder of Medhya Herbals. He is a registered Ayurvedic Practitioner with more than 40 years of experience in Ayurvedic and Herbal treatment. He has successfully cured his patients from chronic health issues related to Poor Digestion, Low Immunity, InFertility, PCOS, Joint Pain, Arthritis, Psoriasis, Inflammation, Chronic Cough, and Sinusitis. Dr. Bansal is passionate about Life and believes that one should enjoy it’s simple gifts to be Healthy and Happy.

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