What Can Be Done About a Fatty Liver and Does it Prevent Absorption of Vitamins?
Our next question comes from Jan. She says, I was told that I have a fatty liver. Can anything be done other than dietary changes? And are there vitamins or minerals that would specifically help? Also, I’ve read that vitamins are not absorbed if you have a fatty liver. Is that true?
Well, Jan, excellent questions. I’m really excited. I’m going to break these into specific parts, but first I want to address the question about you reading that vitamins are not absorbed if you have a fatty liver.
Does a Fatty Liver Inhibit Absorption of Vitamins?
So I would say specifically a fatty liver will not have any overwhelming influence to vitamin absorption. What does influence our digestive process overall with a fatty liver is that you will have potentially a decrease in bile production. And bile is a by-product that the liver creates. Particularly, it’s a lot of the waste products like excess estrogens, cholesterol, toxicity junk that our body is flushing out and it excretes that and it flushes it through the digestive process.
It goes into the small intestine and then into the large intestine. That’s actually what makes our bowel movements the color they are. So that being said, some reduction in bile can influence our overall small intestinal state, where we might not have the most optimized, small intestinal absorption for nutrients, but it is not directly linked to a fatty liver. So I hope that makes sense. Like, you can have good vitamin absorption with a fatty liver. There’s more elements involved than just bile.
Determine the Root Cause of Fatty Liver in Order to Address It
Okay. So let’s tackle the first question. So can there be anything done beyond diet to address a fatty liver? And I’m really excited. There are a lot of things you can do. What I like to do as a naturopath, I like to first look at the root cause or root causes that might be underlying the reason why your body is presenting with a fatty liver. And I will say it’s very common that I see individuals in their 40s and 50s presenting with what they call non-alcoholic fatty liver or sclerosis of the liver non-alcoholic based. And this is really important to understand that there are chemical-hormonal influences that can lead to a fatty liver.
So, the changes that we need to make need to go deeper into addressing those root causes. That’s the most important and most long-term way to turn around and heal the liver from a fatty state. And I’m going to break this down.
Measure Cortisol Levels
Some of the sources are the stress hormone, it’s called cortisol. We can actually test it. Let me show you. I use this test kit with my patients all the time. This is an at-home test kit, where we use saliva, take saliva vial and it analyzes throughout the day your cortisol levels.
When individuals are under any degree of stress, be it mental, emotional, environmental, biochemical, just the fact that you have a fatty liver can cause stress inside the body and can trigger your cortisol levels. So, it’s like a hamster wheel. It just keeps going. And it’s hard to get off of that. By analyzing cortisol, it gives us an idea of where your levels are, and then it helps us to pinpoint areas or times of the day that we want to neutralize and drop down your cortisol levels.
When the body is producing high levels of cortisol, two things happen. Cortisol is the body’s stress response mechanism. We’re hardwired to respond to stress. It’s the fight or flight. Well, part of the fighting and flighting, you need chemicals to fight or flight. And so cortisol is one of the multitudes of chemicals our adrenal glands produce in response to stress.
When cortisol increases, the natural next hormone that is increased or produced is insulin. This all happens in the brain. So the control panel in our brain saying, “red alert, red alert, we have stress” and cortisol is being produced. Signals go to the adrenal glands. We pump cortisol. That cortisols in the saliva. It’s in the blood. We’re analyzing through the pituitary gland. Oh, we’ve got cortisol. Sends signals down to the pancreas to produce insulin. That’s an increase of sugar, it’s increase of energy, it allows you to flight. That’s why we hear some moms, if their child gets trapped under a car, moms can literally lift up the car. That is all about the stress response mechanism and powering of the body to fight or flight.
The Liver Stores Excess Cortisol, Insulin, Estrogens, Toxins
Now, when we are in chronic states of elevated cortisol, elevated insulin, there’s a multitude of things that occur. One of the big things that plagues the liver is that the floating and excesses of cortisol and insulin gets stored, absorbed, and basically contained in the liver.
So, if you think about the liver, all the little cells, it’s like a massive container store, just like little storage containers, and it stores estrogens and toxicity and all sorts of things. And the idea is that a fatty liver is bogged down. Well, the reason why fatty liver occurs, we see cellular changes in the liver, is it’s overwhelmed by your body’s production of cortisol and insulin. So the root causes we need to address.
You can have a stress test, a cortisol stress test, you can be monitoring your glucose levels on a daily basis in the morning before you eat your breakfast and evaluate, how do we control the overall insulin resistance or glucose intolerance. Those two, cortisol and insulin imbalances or insulin resistance, those are the core facets for creating a situation in the body for you to have a fatty liver that’s non-alcoholic related.
Support the Pancreas with Enzymes
Now, the other thing that is important to do is to support the pancreas. That’s that one organ that’s producing insulin. It’s also producing batches of digestive enzymes. One of the things that I find is that when we are in that elevated cortisol, elevated insulin level our pancreatic enzymes, a lot of our digestive enzymes decrease and they dip. And so it is really important for you to add in, when you’re in a fatty liver state, add in Enzyme 17. This has optimal ranges of all different types of digestive enzymes, particularly the protease, which helps to break down protein and lipase, which helps you break down fat, which also supports the process of the liver. And it has a ton of other blends. Like, this whole list is just amazing for helping you support your liver and your overall digestive process.
Drink Dandelion Tea to Detox Your Liver
Now, another thing that I recommend to my patients, it’s so easy to incorporate this, but extremely potent. So easy, potent, and inexpensive is adding dandelion tea to your daily regimen, drinking a cup to three cups a day of dandelion. One little teabag is the equivalent of 1500 milligrams of dandelion. And dandelion has amazing potency and power to help the liver produce more bile. So it helps the liver detox and get all that gunk, all that stored cortisol, all that stored insulin toxicity, excess of any gunkyness that the liver is filtering out.
It helps it flush it and get it out of the liver and out through the bowels and into your bowel movement and out your body. If you deal with constipation, which is very common with fatty liver, dandelion will get your bowels moving. It’s awesome. I love that.
Implement Castor Oil Packing
And then last and final, castor oil packing is something I often recommend to my patients. So if you’re curious about that, I have a freebie download on my website that gives you more details. And there’s some video content I have on my YouTube channel about how to castor oil pack the liver. So, please check that out. But do know that the liver is one of the easiest organs for us to heal and to take from a fatty liver state back to a healthy state. So, love your liver, and let us know how that goes.