The liver is one of the most important organs, performing over 500 functions in our bodies. However, it still remains to be one of the least researched organs. Our mission is to raise awareness about the importance of liver health through proper nutrition. To improve your nutrition, you must first understand about the liver. Join us in a fun campaign to spread the word about liver health and blow a kiss to people you would like to include spreading the word about health.
We start with the fact that the fundamental problem is the bio-chemical flow between the liver and fat cells. When diet is poorly balanced, over time fat accumulates in the liver and by itself is rather benign but when other chemistries like insulin management begin to degrade you get inflammation which leads to fibrosis and if not stopped progresses to cirrhosis. Since there is no treatment your tool is diet and the question is to avoid anything that stresses the liver and load up on anything that is protective. Easy peasy right. Well let's take a look
- eliminate all alcohol
- eliminate most saturated fat and no red meat
- eliminate all non skim dairy products
- eliminate trans-fat and all hydrogenated oils
- eliminate all high fructose corn syrup
- eliminate most sodium -- the goal 1,500 mg of salt.
- eliminate all added dietary sugar
- eliminate processed grains, no white flour or white rice
- Avoid most products hustled by the supplement industry
- Make sure that any medications you take are not harming your liver
Oh my god. That is a terrible list. Not possible to live that way. OK, take a breath. The goal is to take as much pressure off the liver as possible, provide molecules from your diet that are protective and don't stimulate the stellate cells to initiate scaring, but still provide proper nutrition. So what do you do?
- For oil get 60 ml, that's 1/4 cup, a day of extra virgin olive oil
- Take one tablespoon per day of refined fish or salmon oil
- Don't buy prepared foods without reading the label, there isn't actually much that you can buy
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables but remember the salt limit
- Learn to like kale, lima beans, brussel sprouts, etc.
- Look for fiber like whole wheat bread no white breads and use brown rice
- Eat fatty fish like salmon at least a few times a week
- Eat skinless chicken or turkey and lean pork, fresh pork not processed like ham
- Explore new foods like quinoa as a grain
- Eat plenty of vegetable protein like beans.
- Take 400 mg to 800 mg of vitamin E
- Drink 3 to 4 cups of paper filtered coffee daily
- Eating on the road is tough as very little fast food is good for you
- Take 4 gm of BCAA in a vegetable smoothie or water at bedtime
You get the idea. you might call this a type of Mediterranean diet but the excess olive oil is specifically a source of unsaturated fat. The rest is mostly nutrition. The fish oil is to get a significant source of omega 3 oil to balance the omega 6 you routinely get in food. The salt limitation is good for you and lowers your blood pressure. The BCAA is a branched chain amino acid mix which is basically predigested protein and helps prevent muscle wasting if your digestion is damaged.
So why should you think this might work for you? Without getting too technical your energy systems are built around triglycerides. Any oil can be used by the body to make them but if made with unsaturated oil they are better for the body. More importantly olive oil is mostly an omega 9 fatty acid. Good olive oil is a complex mixture of around 30 oils and phyto chemicals which support liver function and soothe activated stellate cells which cools inflammation. Good olive oil causes a burning feeling at the back of your throat. Those are the phyto chemicals and more is better if you ever go to an oil tasting bar. The omega 3 reduces the amount of inflammation caused by omega 6 and is required for good health even if you don't have liver disease.
DISCLAIMER: Be aware that I am not a doctor. I cannot give medical advice. I am a cirrhosis patient and I have apparently halted the progression of my disease following this strategy. You must not assume that this advice will necessarily apply to your situation and you must work closely with your physicians as your situation is unique to you.
Please note that everyone has different a different culture and diet preferences. We cannot provide a diet plan that suits everyone so we offer you the general guidelines but each person has to look at their personal food choices and modify them to be as kind as they can to their liver. There is no one size fits all plan.
- Liver disease is a silent killer
- Most people have no symptoms until it is very serious
- Many doctors don't view fatty liver as a serious risk
- Diabetes is a common indicator of liver disease
- There is no treatment for NASH
- It is a common killer of 45 to 55 year olds
You can use the same tools many doctors use to decide if you should ask your doctor to check carefully for liver disease.
Blood tests and screening calculators can't diagnose liver disease for you, but they can help you understand what your probability of having liver disease might be.
Most liver disease has no symptoms until it is quite serious.
A couple of useful screeners are FIB-4 and NFS.
Research has shown that the FIB-4 and THE NFS can be useful to help rule out advanced disease. They can provide some guidance to help you think about it and suggest next steps. They don't prove anything about your diagnosis of possible disease, but they can be a guide to the next steps needed to arrive at a diagnosis.
The thing to know.
You can use your own blood tests to calculate either of these scores to help you understand your risks.
Here is a chart to help you understand your score.
A NASH diet is very similar to a standard diabetes diet except that more unsaturated fat is used in place of resistant starches to ease the work load of the liver.
The FLF is sponsoring a screening project to deploy 400 mobile screening systems nationwide. With a goal of screening one million patients a year. More information can be found below.
This is a major step for us as patients. We all know the story. The doc says sadly, "You have cirrhosis, I'm sorry we have no treatment". This is a refrain we see retold thousands of times here at the Foundation and it is the path I have personally traveled. I've written that we are on the brink of a new day when we will have options. This is the dawning of that day.Read more
As a patient, I approach NAFLD and NASH with a food as medicine strategy. I believe in the idea that with a damaged organ making it work as little as possible is the only rational plan.
For now, let's assume that you are eating a liver friendly diet but what do you do for those in-between times. A snack when you need something convenient. We all know that vegetables, fruits and nuts make a great snack but are a challenge if you are not at home. We need something that is convenient, not messy, doesn't spoil, isn't bulky, doesn't require preparation, and most importantly is consistent with the food strategy.Read more
We are working with the Healthy Trucking Association of America, (HTAA) to help educate and support truckers at risk of liver disease. It isn't commonly known that truckers have among the highest rates of diabetes and heart disease of any profession which means they also have a high risk of asymptomatic undiagnosed liver disease. We will be doing a live radio broadcast about liver disease on radio at 4:00 PM CST February 6th. This is internet radio so if you would like to listen click on the link at that time. If you are a country music fan you may like the station even if you aren't a trucker.
We are working with the Healthy Trucking Association of America, (HTAA) to help educate and support truckers at risk of liver disease. It isn't commonly known that truckers have among the highest rates of diabetes and heart disease of any profession which means they also have a high risk of asymptomatic undiagnosed liver disease. HTAA produces INTHECAB radio an internet radio so if you would like to listen click on the link. If you are a country music fan you may like the station even if you aren't a trucker.
Dr. John McElligott, cofounder of the St. Christopher Trucker Development and Relief Fund, has described fatty liver disease as, “the scourge of the trucking industry,” in a September 2017 blog post. Data from 1670 long-haul truck drivers obtained by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in their 2010 National Survey of Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury support substantially higher prevalence of metabolic disease among truckers relative to the general working population:
- 69% obese (vs 31% of working adults in US; P< .01)
- 17% morbidly obese (vs 7% of working adults in US; P< .01)
- 14% with diabetes (vs 7% of general US population; P< .05)
Since nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are commonly without any symptoms, most truckers do not know that their risk of developing cirrhosis is much higher than that of the general population. We are working to help the community understand that and begin to take steps to address it before they become ill.
1. Dr. John’s Medical Solutions Blog. https://docjmd.com/blog/fatty-liver-disease-the-scourge-of-the-trucking-industry/. Accessed August 15, 2018.
2. SieberWK, Robinson CF, BirdseyJ, et al. Obesity and other risk factors: the national survey of U.S. long-haul truck driver health and injury. Am J IndMed. 2014;57:615-626.
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The liver, an amazing organ!
Some Liver Facts!
Hopefully you clicked on the picture to hear the very short quote from Shakespeare. Sometimes I can't resist a bit of drama.
Since you have an interest in liver disease, I wanted to let you know that we have reached a real milestone in the development of the foundation. We intend to help change the way liver disease, particularly NASH, is managed and to save the lives of millions who do not know today that they are at risk.Read more
We are proud to announce our collaboration with the Global Engage project. A highlight of the Global Engage year is the Global NASH Congress which brings together the world's talent to combat the liver disease epidemic.
Global Engage is pleased to announce the 3rd Global NASH Congress, which will be held in London on 10th-11th Feb 2020. The 2019 meeting was very successful, attracting over 150 industry leaders and top academics. In fact, 95% said they would attend the meeting again and was widely praised for the quality of the presentations, the breadth and depth of the content as well as the opportunity to network with colleagues from industry, academia and solution providers.
The 2020 Congress will continue to bring together the expert community whose aim it is to tackle the often overlooked NASH epidemic. New for this year, the addition of the Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes & NAFLD Symposium will create a collaborative environment to explore the latest advances in these complementary research areas.