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Fatty liver disease – can nutrition help?

Dietary treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has nothing to do with cutting out fat from the diet. In fact the opposite could be true. An article in the American Journal of Nutrition looked at the role a restricted carbohydrate diet might have on NAFLD. More specifically, they used a diet containing over 60% fat – a ketogenic diet. This diet which contained measured amounts of fat, protein and restricted carbohydrate showed a reduction in fatty deposits in the liver compared to a calorie restricted diet. The reduction in insulin that a ketogenic has would explain the reduction in fatty deposits in the liver.

A diet that is generally lower in starchy vegetables and grains that focuses on good quality protein could also be beneficial. This type of diet might help regenerate the liver because of its affect on circulating insulin levels too. Choline is an important nutrient in NAFLD because it supports the transfer of fats out of the liver. Eggs and liver both contain high levels of choline.

Another aspect that should be considered is whether the individual with NAFLD  might have a gut membrane with altered permeability (sometimes known as ‘leaky gut’) or a sensitivity to gluten that might affect liver function. Removal of gluten from the diet would be a good first step when addressing NAFLD. Not only does gluten raise insulin levels considerably but raised fatty deposits in the liver have been seen in individuals with non celiac gluten sensitivity.

It is important to consult a qualified practitioner when dealing with complex health issues.

Author: Sarah Hanratty

Sarah is a specialist practitioner at the Brain Food Clinic. She has a degree in Nutritional Medicine and is a certified Gut and Psychology Syndrome Practitioner. Sarah helps people to overcome physical and mental health issues using bespoke nutritional protocols.

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