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Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and Fatty Liver: What's the Connection?

In many cases where patients struggle with a heightened blood sugar level and/or excess weight and have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis; their blood tests reveal a fatty liver - with high liver enzymes. As you may know, there aren’t any overtly obvious symptoms when it comes to a fatty liver; but it can be quite dangerous. If someone’s liver is filled with excess fat, it will struggle with its detoxification role, result in higher inflammation - and in turn, a higher risk of a heart attack. But did you know that Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism may also play a role in your liver becoming fatty? We’ll explore the connection here in order to inform potential patients suffering from such issues.

Fatty Liver Causes

When it comes to a fatty liver, many laymen assume that the main thing you need to do is consume less fat in your daily diet. After all, the problem is about a “fatty” liver, right - it’s only logical? Unfortunately, no - when it comes to this health issue, the main culprit isn’t actually fat; instead, it’s an increased amount of carbohydrates and sugars.

In the past couple of decades, dietary medical science has summarily concluded that an excess of carbs is what causes belly fat; making it also a telltale sign of an extremely fatty liver. The connection here is simple - sugar is what signals your liver to come up with more fat. And when you consume junk foods and soft drinks, your liver is forced to process fructose; more specifically, corn syrup with high fructose content. And that’s what generally makes your liver fatty.

But that’s not the only thing which can lead to a fatty liver. Apart from this, if you badly manage your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism; this immune disease can also contribute to a fatty liver. There is pretty conclusive research on the connection between these two diseases; which is no wonder, considering the importance of a good thyroid function to blood sugar regulation and fat metabolism.

Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism Connection

It should be noted that you shouldn’t expect to have zero fat in your liver. In fact, having *some* fat is normal. But, if it exceeds between five and ten percent of the combined weight of this organ; that’s when medicine considers it fatty, and the patient suffering from such a symptom is usually diagnosed with NAFLD - non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. And if this condition is left unchecked, it has a chance of evolving into full-blown cirrhosis. While that happens in only about 5% of cases, there’s still a host of other medical problems that arise from this, even without getting to cirrhosis. And while NAFLD is common, you may have already guessed that alcohol abuse is also a big cause of fatty liver disease; most alcoholics suffer from it.

Still, NAFLD is a more common type of liver disorder in the developed world; for example, a full third of US citizens suffer from it! It primarily appears in middle-aged and overweight individuals; but in the past few decades, a worryingly large number of teens and children have been diagnosed with it. This is obviously due to their ever-rising consumption of high-carb food, sweets, and sodas. You may not be surprised to learn that diabetes and high cholesterol go hand in hand with NAFLD as well. 

But if you suffer from Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, you have a larger risk of NAFLD, due to the effect thyroid disorders have on liver function and fat metabolism. Because of this, people suffering from these diseases need to go a step beyond just thyroid medication.

Regaining Liver Health

Here’s some good news - there are ways to reverse the effects of a fatty liver. But if you want to avoid any further long-term complications and serious health issues, you will need to change your lifestyle and act responsibly.

First of all, you should immediately adopt a sugar-free, low-carb diet. As we’ve mentioned in the very beginning, higher blood sugar is known to cause a fatty liver. If you want to reverse the latter, you will need to lower your blood sugar levels down to a healthy balance. Consume whole foods, that contain protein, healthy fat and fibrous vegetables. Once you start eating like this, you will also start dropping excess weight; further helping your liver.

 Apart from this, we couldn’t overemphasize the importance of daily exercise. This is a major step towards regaining a healthy liver. If you work out on a daily basis, you will find your blood sugar levels dropping, and your body will start detoxifying as well. Sooner than later, you will begin losing extra fat.

Other Steps To A Healthier Life

Proper dieting and working out are things you may have already taken into account; after all, these are the natural steps toward increasing the state of your general health as well, so they’re bound to do you good. But apart from that - we also recommend avoiding alcohol as much as you’re able to. There’s probably no reason to mention that alcohol is quite bad for your liver. But what you may not realize is that medication isn’t too good for it either.


Many medications may lower liver function, so if you’ve got a fatty liver; only take the medication you absolutely have to.


You should also take care to lower general inflammation in your body and relieve yourself of unnecessary stress. The liver is actually crucial for inflammation, and lowering its levels will help unburden your liver in a major way. But how do you do this? Well, by dropping any inflammatory foods from your diet; mostly dairy and gluten.


In conclusion, liver health is incredibly important to manage for a number of reasons. And while people suffer from a fatty liver for many reasons in general; having Hashimoto's thyroiditis will make maintaining liver health even more difficult. That’s why it’s important to pay even more attention to your liver’s wellbeing if you’re in such a situation.

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