Liver is a vital organ that performs more than 500 functions in the human body. Liver health is an indication of overall wellbeing but very often ailments related to this organ go undiagnosed. Owing to poor diet, lack of physical activity and hectic lifestyles innumerable complaints pertaining to the liver like impaired bile production, jaundice, hepatitis, hepatic cirrhosis, damage to hepatic tissues and even liver cancer are increasing nowadays.
Introduction to fatty liver
Fatty liver is often found in overweight and obese people, yet healthy individuals can also be affected by it. If more than 5% of the liver tissue consists of fat, then a diagnosis is made. While this condition may not present any significant health concerns initially, an excessive level of fat within the liver can cause inflammation and scarring over time.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects people who drink little to no alcohol. If you just have fat but no damage to your liver, the disease is called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). If you have fat in your liver plus signs of inflammation and liver cell damage, the disease is called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Non- alcoholic Fatty liver tends to develop in people who are overweight, particularly if they have a lot of fat around the middle of their body. It can also develop in a person whose body weight is in the healthy weight range, but who typically eats a lot of sugary and fatty foods and who has extra fat around the waist. Certain conditions like Diabetes mellitus, Hyperlipidemia (elevated lipids in the blood) and high blood pressure often accompany and may contribute to fatty liver disease.
Fatty liver disease is sometimes called a silent liver disease. This is because it can happen without causing any symptoms. Most people with NAFLD live with fat in their liver without developing liver damage. A few people who have fat in their liver develop NASH leading to permanent scarring and hardening of your liver, this is called cirrhosis. However, some people do report discomfort in the abdomen at the level of the liver, fatigue, a general feeling of being unwell, and vague discomfort.
- By adopting a healthy lifestyle, you may prevent obesity – the number one reason for fatty liver but making some lifestyle changes can control or reverse the fat buildup in your liver. These include:
- Losing weight, Lowering your cholesterol and triglycerides ,Controlling your diabetes ,Avoiding alcohol.
- The main complication of fatty liver disease is the progression of NASH to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis means permanent scarring and hardening of the liver and some herbs have long been known to protect the liver from damage.
Milk thistle: This herb has been used for over 2,000 years to treat bile duct and liver conditions, and research shows that it may have liver-protective properties. Some studies have shown that taking a milk thistle supplement may help protect against liver disease progression, prolong life in people with alcoholic cirrhosis, and enhance overall quality of life in people with liver disease.
Kutki: This bitter tasting herb is a premier liver tonic. Cool in nature, it has a cleansing effect on the liver and gallbladder. In Ayurveda, kutki is prescribed to improve appetite and to treat jaundice or bile disorders.
Bhumi Amla : Ayurveda offers a splendid solution for all liver ailments in the form of a powerful herb known as Bhumi Amla. Bhumi Amla is blessed with potent hepatoprotective traits that enhance liver functions and repair wounded hepatic cells and tissues. This prized ayurvedic herb is hence useful in containing cirrhosis of the liver, gallstones, bile problems, damage to liver tissues
Licorice: Some studies have demonstrated that treatment with licorice extract may benefit those with certain liver conditions and the recent progress in the research of hepatoprotective effects of different licorice-derived bioactive ingredients highlights its potency as a promising option for the treatment of liver disease. Licorice root has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and liver-protective effects in some scientific studies. The main active component in licorice root is the saponin compound glycyrrhizin, which is commonly used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine to treat many ailments, including liver disease.
The liver is an important internal organ that aids in breaking down food, processing nutrients, metabolizing drugs, chemicals and storing energy and its proper functioning is essential for overall health therefore a combination of lifestyle changes and consumption of herbs may protect the liver and prevent further damage.