liver is the gateway to the body and in this chemical
age its detoxification systems are easily overloaded.
Thousands of chemicals are added to food and over 700
have been identified in drinking water. Plants are
sprayed with toxic chemicals, animals are injected with
potent hormones and antibiotics and a significant amount
of our food is genetically engineered, processed,
refined, frozen and cooked. All this can lead to
destruction of delicate vitamins and minerals, which are
needed for the detoxification pathways in the liver. The
liver must try to cope with every toxic chemical in our
environment, as well as damaged fats that are present in
processed and fried foods.
The Liver Filter
The liver is the cleanser and filter of the blood
stream and is of vital importance. It is the largest
organ in the body and has an enormous amount of blood
flowing through it every minute of our lives. It is
between 21 - 22.5 cm in its greatest diameter, 15 -
17.5cm in its greatest height and 10 - 12.5 cm in its
depth, weighing around 1200 - 1600 gms
Normal Healthy Liver
What are the functions of the
• It is responsible for the production of bile which
is stored in the gallbladder and released when required
for the digestion of fats.
• The liver stores glucose in the form of glycogen
which is converted back to glucose again when needed for
• It also plays an important role in the metabolism of
protein and fats. It stores the vitamins A, D, K, B12
and folate and synthesizes blood clotting factors.
• Another important role is as a detoxifier, breaking
down or transforming substances like ammonia, metabolic
waste, drugs, alcohol and chemicals, so that they can be
excreted. These may also be referred to as "xenobiotic"
chemicals. If we examine the liver under a microscope,
we will see rows of liver cells separated by spaces
which act like a filter or sieve, through which the
blood stream flows. The liver filter is designed to
remove toxic matter such as dead cells, microorganisms,
chemicals, drugs and particulate debris from the blood
stream. The liver filter is called the sinusoidal
system, and contains specialized cells known as Kupffer
cells which ingest and breakdown toxic matter.
liver filter can remove a wide range of microorganisms
such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites from the
blood stream, which is highly desirable, as we certainly
do not want these dangerous things building up in the
blood stream and invading the deeper parts of the body.
Infections with parasites often come from the
contaminated water supplies found in large cities, and
indeed other dangerous organisms may find their way into
your gut and blood stream from these sources. This can
cause chronic infections and poor health, so it is
important to protect your liver from overload with these
microorganisms. The safest thing to do is boil your
water for at least 5 minutes, or drink only bottled
water that has been filtered and sterilized. High loads
of unhealthy microorganisms can also come from eating
foods that are prepared in conditions of poor hygiene by
persons who are carrying bacteria, viruses or parasites
on their skin. Foods, especially meats that are not
fresh or are preserved, also contain a higher bacterial
load, which will overwork the liver filter if they are
it has become very fashionable for people to detoxify
their bodies by various means, such as fasting or
cleansing the bowels with fibre mixtures. Fasting can by
its extreme nature, only be a temporary method of
cleansing the body of waste products, and for many
people causes an excessively rapid release of toxins
which can cause unpleasant, acute symptoms. The liver
filter, like any filter, needs to be cleansed regularly,
and it is much easier and safer to do it everyday. This
is easily and pleasantly achieved by adopting a daily
eating pattern that maintains the liver filter in a
healthy clean state. By following the methods and
guidelines suggested here, you will be able to keep the
liver filter healthy and clean. Although it is important
to keep the intestines moving regularly and to sweep
their walls with high fibre and living foods, it is
important to remember that the bowels are really a
channel of elimination and not a cleansing organ per se.
In other words the bowels cannot cleanse, filter or
remove toxic wastes from the blood stream.
is only the liver that can purify the blood stream and
we only have one liver.
Fatty liver is also known as NASH, which stands for Non-
Alcoholic Steatorrhoeic Hepatosis or
Non-Alcoholic-Fatty-Liver-Disease (NAFLD) but don’t be
put off by these big terms – they just mean that your
liver is being invaded with fat! Fatty liver or NASH, is
very common in overweight persons, over the age of 30.
It contains an excessive amount of
fat and the normal healthy liver tissue is partly
replaced with areas of unhealthy fats. In such a liver,
the liver cells and the spaces in the liver are filled
with fat so the liver becomes slightly enlarged and
heavier. The liver has a yellow greasy appearance. There
may be discomfort over the liver, which is situated in
the right upper abdominal area. There may be gallstones
composed of cholesterol and bile salts. It is often
possible to see the excess fat in the liver in an
ultrasound scan of the liver. There may also be
elevation of the liver enzymes.
Note it is slightly enlarged and yellow in color
and "shiny" or "greasy" in
appearance because it is congested by fat
This is a more severe degree of fatty liver and is
more often due to incorrect diet, alcohol excess
The healthy liver is much redder in
colour and has a uniform texture. If we cut the liver up
into tiny slices and magnify it many millions of times
you will see that it is full of spaces that are red-pink
colour because they are full of blood.
rows of liver cells form the walls of the spaces. As the
blood flows through these spaces the liver cells remove
the toxins, dead cells, micro-organisms and fat from the
blood stream. Thus we call the liver the filter and
cleanser of the blood stream. If the liver spaces and
liver cells are full of fat, then the liver is not able
to filter and cleanse the blood stream efficiently and
the blood stream will become overloaded with toxins and
fat. It is best to work on reversing this problem
because if left unchecked poor liver function can lead
to further problems such as autoimmune conditions and
Diabetes type II
How do you know if you have
a fatty liver?
• You will probably be overweight, especially in the
• You will find it very hard to lose weight
• You may have elevated cholesterol and triglycerides
in your blood
• You may have Syndrome X.
The characteristic disorders present in metabolic
syndrome X include:
- insulin resistance
- abnormalities of blood clotting
- low HDL and high LDL cholesterol levels
- high triglyceride levels
The chief abnormality present in
syndrome X is insulin resistance. That is, the body's
tissues do not respond normally to insulin. As a result,
insulin levels become elevated in the body's attempt to
overcome the resistance to insulin. The elevated insulin
levels lead, directly or indirectly, to the other
metabolic abnormalities seen.
• You may have diabetes type II
• You will be very tired
• You may have problems with your immune system
consequences of a fatty liver
The healthy liver regulates fat metabolism and is the
major fat-burning organ in the body. Indeed the healthy
liver not only burns fat, it can pump excessive fat out
of your body through the bile into the gut. Thus, if
your liver is healthy you will not have much difficulty
in controlling your weight. Conversely a liver which is
fatty is doing the opposite of what it should be doing.
A fatty liver is storing fat when it should be burning
fat and removing excess fat from your body. Indeed a
fatty liver becomes a warehouse for fat and if it is
allowed to progress for many years, the liver may
finally become just a “bag of fat” with dire
consequences for your health and longevity.
common is fatty liver?
In the USA the incidence of fatty liver is 15 to 20%
of the general population and is much higher than this
in obese individuals. Fatty liver is the most common
cause of abnormal liver function tests in the USA. It
can also occur in children.
reverse a fatty liver?
Yes indeed you can. Conventional or orthodox medicine
has no specific therapy or drug treatment to reverse a
fatty liver. Indeed many drugs such as cholesterol
lowering drugs can exert toxic effects on the liver
An article in the Journal Medicine
Today encouraged a gradual reduction in weight which has
been shown to improve liver function and reverse liver
damage. However the authors warn against very rapid
weight loss from fad diets or radical surgery which may
have a negative impact upon the progression of liver
injury. The good news is that gradual weight reduction ,
with as little as a 5 to 10% loss of initial body weight
over 6 months is recommended. In general the treatments
discussed in the Medicine Today article were somewhat
uninspiring the good news is that in reality there is
much that can be done to reverse the condition of fatty
So, fatty liver can be reversed but
this can take some time - years in some cases. If you
are overweight & find it very difficult to lose the
excess weight it is important to look at all the factors
relevant to your present weight & state of health.
Insulin resistance or Syndrome X
The liver contains an excessive amount of fat and the
normal healthy liver tissue is partly replaced with
areas of unhealthy fats.
You may have a build-up of fat-soluble toxins (such as
insecticides & pesticides), drug metabolites or
waste products of metabolism in your fatty tissues and
liver. This slows down the metabolism of the fatty parts
of your body & also over-burdens your liver. This
means that the liver burns fat less efficiently. Gentle
and regular detoxification is very helpful when trying
to lose weight. Drinking plenty of water, raw vegetable
juices and other treatments as listed later on will help
the detoxification process.
long does it take to see results?
The liver has become a fat storage organ rather than a
fat burning organ - so this situation must be reversed
before actual weight loss can occur. Obviously this will
depend on the extent of the fatty liver as to how long
this will take. Also be prepared for the fact that you
will more than likely hit a 'plateau' - where weight
loss will stop or slow right down - this may go on for
weeks or a month or two - Don't be discouraged at this
time - the fat loss is occurring - but is going from
within your liver so you may not see any visible fat
loss from the body - stick with it! It is at this time
that people will tend to give up thinking that that's it
- they won't lose anymore - not true! - you must be
diligent and patient - the symptoms you are experiencing
have taken years to develop and cannot be reversed by a
couple of weeks of "dieting" Yo Yo dieting is
not advisable as the weight lost will return plus more
and the metabolism will slow even more.
Doctors said there is nothing that can be done?
Many Doctors still do not make the link between the
traditional western diet and fatty liver. Many simply
brush over the condition, telling patients there is
nothing that can be done and that it will simply be
‘monitored’. Meanwhile the condition gets worse and
worse as the functional liver tissue slowly gets
replaced by fat over the years. If left unchecked, a
severe inflamed fatty liver can lead to scarring of the
liver tissue (cirrhosis).
Doctor correct? Can nothing be done? The answer is a
Thankfully the liver is one of the most resilient organs
in the body. It is capable of much self healing if given
"enzymes" are raised what does this mean?
The elevated liver enzyme results indicate that there is
inflammation and damage to the liver cells and their
membranes. Liver enzymes are normally contained within
the liver cells, and only when the cells are damaged
and/or inflamed, do the enzymes leak into the blood
stream. This can occur due to a fatty liver, alcohol
excess, some medications such as long term antibiotics,
and pain killers, oral synthetic Hormone Replacement,
viral infections of the liver such as hepatitis C &
B, auto-immune hepatitis, hemachromatosis, primary
biliary cirrhosis, exposure to toxic chemicals such as
insecticides, pesticides, organic solvents and incorrect
Luckily the liver cells are very
resilient and with proper diet and supplements they will
repair and the enzyme levels will slowly come down over
time in the case of simple fatty liver. This may take
some months. It is also not uncommon for the enzyme
levels to fluctuate up and down before they decrease.
The body needs to be provided with the correct nutrients
required by the metabolic and detoxification pathways to
effectively improve the liver function. This needs to be
a combination of correct eating principles that should
be followed generally as a way of life, the correct
supplementation to give the liver/thyroid etc what it
needs and nothing that it doesn't need as these 'extras'
will only weigh it down even more.
• Follow your recommended body-sculpting eating plan
to kick start the metabolism.
• Increase the amount of raw fruits and vegetables
• Use raw vegetable
• Avoid deep fried and processed foods
Raw juices are an incredible powerful healing tool and
can improve the function of the liver, bowels and
kidneys. This increases the elimination of toxins and
waste products from the skin.
To lose weight and improve your liver function you must
avoid ALL dairy foods including milk, cheese, cream,
butter, ice cream, yoghurt, chocolate etc. The fat
content of milk is actually quite negligible in terms of
weight loss. - dairy foods contain high levels of
antibiotics, steroids and artificial growth hormones as
this is what the herds are treated with in today's high
tech dairies to prevent disease and boost milk
production. As with humans where substances go through
into breast milk it is the same for cattle - only they
neglect to tell you this in the advertisements when they
are telling you how great milk is.
Try some brown rice, oat or hemp
milks as milk substitutes.
• Avoid ALL margarines and similar
• Avoid deep fried and fatty foods.
• Avoid sugary processed foods and drinks
• Limit chicken and turkey that is not free range as
all others contains artificial growth hormones,
antibiotics and steroids that increase the livers
• Drink 2 liters of water each day.
• Avoid artificial sweeteners see http://www.dorway.com/kids_sweetener.html
Acesulfame-K (Sunette, Sweet & Safe, Sweet One)
Evaporated Cane Juice
Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) *
* Safe for Diabetics
Essential should be a specific and heavy duty liver
tonic, one which contains a high dose of the herb Milk
Thistle with a high standardised concentration of the
active ingredient Silymarin. This heavy duty liver tonic
would also contain additional supporting nutrients such
as other herbs, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and
vegetable extracts to improve the liver's ability to
detoxify and burn fat. New Roots product called LIVER
meets this criteria.
This tonic could be combined with a
general liver tonic that contains all the vital
ingredients to enhance liver function. A good,
all-purpose comprehensive herbal liver tonic consists of
specific herbs and amino acids which will improve
elimination and the reduction of waste via a cleansing
effect on the bowel.
Increased consumption of fibre will speed up the passage
of toxins out of the bowels and reduce the ability of
these toxins to recirculate back to the liver. It will
also assist the action of pumping fats and cholesterol
out through the bowel actions. You can ensure you are
getting enough fibre by taking a soluble fibre
supplement. A good fibre product may contain rice bran,
vegetable powders, whole hemp seed powder, or psylium.
Slippery elm and peppermint will gently alleviate any
constipation symptoms while improving bowel tone and
function. It can be added to hemp, rice or oat milk, and
fruit smoothies, or added in with the favourite
breakfast cereal. Start on a small dose and gradually
increase the amount. It is also important to drink at
least 8 glasses of purified water everyday and some
people will need to drink up to 12 glasses daily. Water
should be consumed gradually throughout the day,
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant mineral that works
synergistically to assist in protection against further
damage to liver cells. A good selenium product should be
combined with other antioxidant nutrients; this may help
to protect the liver from damage. It may be helpful for
those with viral infections of the liver or autoimmune
diseases of the liver as well as fatty liver. You would
need to consume at least 200 mcg daily.
with Vitamin C
MSM (Methyl-Sulphonyl-Methane) is an organic form of
sulphur, which may assist in softening and preventing
further scar tissue. Sulphur is a vital component of
healthy bile and is needed to produce the powerful
antioxidant called glutathione. Vitamin C will
neutralize free radicals generated during the phase 1
detoxification pathway in the liver and reduce toxic
damage and chemical overload. Toxic chemicals are far
less dangerous if there is plenty of vitamin C in the
liver. It also helps the liver to regulate cholesterol
levels and improves immunity
Threonine may prevent fat from accumulating in the
liver. A fatty liver can affect liver function and is
associated with diseases of the liver such as cirrhosis.
Absorption of vital nutrients &
active ingredients is superior from powders, as compared
to compressed tablets which often pass through the gut
without being dissolved or absorbed. Start slow with the
supplements at only a 1/4 of the dose and build up to
the full dose recommended, over 2-3 weeks.
loss or blood sugar supplement
A specific combination of herbs such as gymnema and
bitter melon, combined with minerals such as chromium,
zinc, selenium and lipoic acid, may help to stabilize
blood sugar and insulin levels; thereby reducing hunger
and cravings. Try and use a supplement that contains
ingredients at therapeutic doses and does not contain
any caffeine. We recommend you avoid thermogenics based
on caffeine, as this will aggravate unstable blood sugar
levels and fatigue.
The most effective is a quality whey protein isolate. Consuming a powdered protein isolate is a low fat and low
carbohydrate alternative that is easily digestable and
will provide you with instant energy. It may be added to
breakfast cereals, used to make 'smoothies' or mixed
with water or non dairy milks such as hemp, almond, oat
or coconut. A good protein isolate can be sweetened with
the natural herbal sweetener 'Stevia' and may be enjoyed
at any time of the day giving an invaluable alternative
to a high carbohydrate snack or meal.
Raw juices are an incredible
powerful healing tool and can improve the function of
the liver, bowels and kidneys. This increases the
elimination of toxins and waste products from the skin.
The fresh raw vegetable juices are vitally important. It
is good to use both whole fruits and vegetables in the
diet as well as the juices as the juices provide an
easily absorbable form of nutraceuticals that are very
beneficial for the liver.
Juices made freshly from raw fruits
and or vegetables have unique healing & rejuvenating
properties. For those who feel they need an extra boost
there is nothing better than having a raw juice
everyday. It will brighten up the day by providing extra
energy & endurance. Juices are unique because they
allow the gut to receive very concentrated amounts of
phyto-nutrients that could not be obtained by eating a
normal amount of raw vegetables & fruits.
Juices are high in --- Vitamin C,
bioflavonoids, carotenoids, living plant enzymes to aid
digestion & vitamin K in green leafy vegetables .
Letters, Questions and Answers
Dear Dr C,
My son who is 18 years old has a fatty liver and is 30
kilograms overweight. We have a family history of type
11 diabetes and I am worried that he is heading in that
direction. He craves sweet foods like biscuits,
ice-cream, cakes and candies. He seems to be always
hungry and tired. I had no idea that he could have a
fatty liver at this young age but the doctor found it on
an ultrasound scan. The doctor also surprised me when he
told us that he sees fatty livers in children as young
as 10 to 12 years of age! There were streaks of fatty
infiltration through his liver, which the doctor pointed
out to us on the ultrasound scan. His liver enzymes were
slightly raised. The doctor told us that he must lose
weight and start to exercise, but it is very difficult
because he is always tired and hungry. What do you
from Dr C:
Your son has the condition called “NASH”, which
stands for “Non-Alcoholic- Steatorrhoeic Hepatosis”.
Due to modern day diet and lifestyle factors this
condition has become very common. I often say it is
because the “food keep getting faster and faster, and
we keep getting slower and slower”
It is true that your son must lose
weight and start to exercise, but special techniques are
required to achieve this easily.
Improve the liver’s ability to burn fat
Find out His Metabolic Bio Type and follow the Six week
body makeover program to kick start his metabolism.
Avoid all fatty foods such as deep fried foods,
Avoid refined sugars as found in cakes & biscuits.
Take raw vegetable juices every day
Take a strong liver tonic, a fiber supplement and MSM
with Vitamin C at recommended doses everyday.
By improving his liver function and
stabilizing blood sugar he will have the energy to
exercise. In those with a fatty liver, there is often
excessive and constant hunger because of high blood
sugar levels, which cause high blood insulin levels.
High levels of insulin make you feel hungry. Thus we
need to reduce his levels of blood sugar and insulin.
To do this
he needs to do the following:
Ensure that he eats first class protein with every meal
(3 times daily) – such as lean red meat, free range
chicken, eggs, seafood, or legumes. See your six week
body makeover sheets.
Make sure that this is combined with
cooked vegetables and raw vegetable salad. Dressings may
consist of cold pressed oils, balsamic vinegar or citrus
juices. It is best to minimize the ingestion of
carbohydrates especially those containing refined flour
and sugar such as many breads and breakfast cereals.
Take a good quality protein powder in water as a snack
or breakfast accompaniment.
Take a supplement that may contain
the herbs Gymnema Sylvestre and Bitter Melon combined
with chromium picolinate, lipoic acid, carnitine
fumarate, selenomethionine, magnesium aspartate,
manganese, zinc and vitamin E to lower blood sugar and
insulin levels thereby reducing excessive hunger and
increasing energy levels.
These strategies will make it much
easier for him to lose weight, as his hunger will be
greatly reduced. If he becomes hungry offer him protein,
vegetables and salad.
Unless specific strategies to
improve the liver function and reduce blood sugar and
insulin levels are followed, his chances of success are
not high. Try to get him involved in enjoyable sports
such as walking, rowing, golf or swimming.
"THESE STATEMENTS HAVE
NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FDA AND ARE NOT INTENDED TO
DIAGNOSE, TREAT OR CURE ANY DISEASES"
© 2005 HealthSmart Nutrition. All rights reserved.
Revised: October 07, 2006