Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, also referred to a NAFLD, is much more common than most people realize and in some cases it will show no symptoms or complications at all.
However, in other cases, it can lead to scarring as well as inflammation in the liver.
If it develops into steatohepatitis, it can lead to liver failure and to make this disease even more challenging, there is currently no conventional medical treatment for it.
Or is there?
Although the medical community is still somewhat split on this controversial topic, there is mounting evidence that some nutrients, especially vitamin E, may finally be the one thing that can actually treat this condition.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is an accumulation of fat in the liver of people that do not drink at all, or if they do, it is very little.
Fatty liver disease is different as in most all cases it is the result of too much alcohol over long periods of time.
It occurs as the result of your liver having trouble breaking down fats, which in turn, causes these fats to start to build in the tissues of your liver.
However, this is where another very large mystery comes into play with this disease; no one is 100 percent sure what causes it.
For this reason, there is a very wide range of conditions as well as other diseases that are considered to be potential causes.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease also has an extreme range of severity and runs the gamut from being totally harmless to life threatening.
If it becomes severe, it is than referred to as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis which can very easily become a life threatening form of liver failure.
If it does begin to show symptoms, the list is quite small as there are only three potential symptoms.
The first will be a gradual fatigue that develops, which will in most all cases be accompanied by a pain in your upper right abdomen.
Once this occurs, you may also start to lose weight for no apparent reason.
This disease also comes in three different forms or types.
They include nonalcoholic fatty liver, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease-associated cirrhosis.
The first form, even though it is not considered normal for fat to build up in your liver for any reason, is considered to be completely harmless.
The second form, steatohepatitis, is believed to occur in less than 3 percent of the population, but with this form the excessive fat causes the liver to become inflamed.
Once this occurs, it can impact your liver to the point that it loses its ability to function properly which can lead to several serious complications.
The third form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, associated cirrhosis, is where your liver becomes inflamed as the result of scarring in the tissues.
Although this is not an immediate problem, over time it may become severe as the scarring will continue to the point that it will cause your liver to begin to fail.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease has no known actual cause but there are several diseases as well as conditions that may trigger it.
The first is some type of medication that you are taking and if you are lucky enough to show early symptoms, this may be caught and by simply eliminating the offending medication will stop the damages.
If you have had or are about to have a gastric bypass surgery, make sure you have your liver checked, as this is another possible cause.
A metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, Wilson’s disease, and obesity are also potential causes as are high levels of triglycerides in your blood.
However, there are three other potential causes that are considered to be the major threat for this disease and they include malnutrition, a rapid loss of weight, as well as a toxin of some kind.
The most common type of toxin is believed to be pesticides.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease has no known conventional treatment, but Vitamin E is emerging as a very promising potential treatment.
In a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, there were 247 adults studied that had the advanced form of the disease and was tested for two years.
The patients were randomly given high dosages of vitamin E which consisted of 800 international units, and the part the test study not given this vitamin was given a placebo or a dummy pill so to speak.
The reason this particular vitamin was selected was that in previous tests it showed a lot of promise in slowly liver cell deterioration as it helped to reduce the abnormal metabolism of fats in the liver.
The results were quite impressive, as 43 percent of the group that took vitamin E in these quantities showed improved liver functions, compared to 19 percent that took the placebo.
This literally shook up to conservative medical world as there has never been a successful test where a vitamin cured a disease that was not the direct result of a vitamin deficiency.
The major sponsor of this test was the National Institutes of Health.
However, there are also several other nutrients that can help your liver and may also have an impact on this disease.
The first of these is Vitamin C which has regenerative qualities that do two things; they help to stimulate the liver as well as help to heal it.
This vitamin is also used to in the form lemon juice to help flush out the liver as well as the gallbladder of potential toxins that may lead to gallstones.
The B-class of vitamins, especially B12, B5 and 6, as well as folic acid, also assists with liver de-congestion.
They perform this task as they assist the liver in breaking down fats which is exactly what you want as a preventive measure against this disease.
Vitamin D helps to reduce inflammation in every part of your body including your liver. There is also another nutrient that is not a vitamin, the herb milk thistle, which can also be very effective.
Milk thistle contains several powerful antioxidants including silymarin that naturally protect your liver form any type of damage caused by toxins.
If your job requires you to be around a lot of pesticides, you may want to consider this herb which is available in capsule form in most all vitamin and health food stores.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease can be absolutely harmless or it can become life threatening.
If you have it, you should consider consulting with your doctor about high dosages of vitamin E as a treatment but only take these high dosages with professional supervision.
If you don’t have it, taking a liquid multi-vitamin daily may prevent you from ever getting this disease.