Home Remedies for Fatty Liver Disease
In simple terms, fatty liver disease means an accumulation of fat in the cells of the liver. It’s normal to have fat in the liver, but when more than 5 to 10 percent is fat, it can be considered fatty liver disease. A buildup of fat in the liver makes it vulnerable to further injury, which can cause inflammation and scarring.
There are two types of fatty liver disease: alcohol-induced and nonalcoholic. The main cause behind alcohol-induced fatty liver is excessive alcohol consumption. In nonalcoholic fatty liver, fat builds up in the liver for reasons unrelated to alcohol.
Apart from excessive alcohol consumption, risk factors for fatty liver disease include high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, viral hepatitis, rapid weight loss and malnutrition.
In general, people with fatty liver disease have no symptoms, especially in the beginning. However, some people may experience abdominal discomfort, fatigue, loss of appetite, a general feeling of being unwell and vague discomfort. This is why proper diagnosis is important before starting any treatment.
Currently, there is no effective treatment for fatty liver disease. However, it is a reversible condition and can usually be treated with simple lifestyle changes, dietary changes and easy–to-follow home remedies.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for fatty liver disease.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the best remedies for fatty liver disease. It helps get rid of fat accumulated in and around the liver and promotes weight loss. Moreover, it encourages healthy liver functioning and reduces liver inflammation.
- Add 1 tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water.
- Optionally, add a little honey.
- Drink it 2 times daily, before your meals.
- Follow this remedy for a few months.
Lemon contains high amounts of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps the liver produce enzymes called glutathione. Glutathione neutralizes toxins, thus lemon helps the liver with detoxification.
Also, a 2014 study published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology found that a compound present in lemons called naringenin helps ease liver inflammation.
- Squeeze the juice of ½ lemon in a glass of water. Drink it 2 or 3 times a day for several weeks.
- Alternatively, add 2 to 3 chopped lemons to a jar of water. Drink this water at regular intervals.
The herb dandelion works as a powerful liver tonic, hence it can be used to treat fatty liver disease. It helps detoxify and metabolize fat accumulated in the liver and promotes proper liver function.
Also, a 2013 study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology found that dandelion leaf extract helps in the prevention and treatment of obesity-related nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
- Add 1 teaspoon of dried dandelion root to a cup of hot water. Cover and steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain, add a little honey for taste and drink it. Drink 3 cups of this herbal tea daily for a few weeks.
- You can also add fresh tender dandelion leaves to salads, or eat cooked dandelion leaves as a side dish.
Note: Do not use this herb if you are diabetic or pregnant.
According to a 2013 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine, green tea with high-density catechins improves liver function and fat infiltration in patients suffering from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Green tea helps block the amount of fat stored in the liver and improves liver function. Moreover, regular intake of green tea reduces body weight and fat percentage.
- Drink 3 to 4 cups of green tea every day to get rid of fatty liver disease and protect your liver.
- Green tea is also available as an extract in liquid and capsules. Consult your doctor before taking supplements.
Packed with valuable antioxidants, turmeric is another effective home remedy for fatty liver disease. According to a 2008 study published in the journal China Pharmaceuticals, turmeric can help prevent fatty liver disease. However, more research is still needed.
Turmeric improves the body’s ability to digest fats so they do not accumulate in the liver. It also aids the liver detoxification process.
- Mix ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder in 1 to 2 glasses of water and boil it. Drink it twice daily for a couple of weeks.
- You can also mix ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk and drink it once daily.
- Turmeric supplements are available as capsules and tinctures. Talk to your doctor to determine the proper dosage for your condition.
You can also use licorice to cure liver problems like nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
According to a 2012 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, licorice root extract helps decrease transaminase activities of enzymes called ALT (alanine aminotransferase) and AST (aspartate aminotransferase) in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. It also prevents liver damage due to heavy metals and toxins.
- Add ½ teaspoon of licorice root to a cup of hot water. Cover and allow it to steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain, add a little honey and drink this tea 2 times a day.
- Alternatively, mix together 1 tablespoon of licorice powder and 2 teaspoons of honey and have this once daily for several weeks.
- If taking licorice supplements, consult your doctor first as they may interfere with certain blood pressure, diabetes and corticosteroid medications.
According to Ayurveda, both the papaya fruit and its seeds are effective treatments for fatty liver disease. Moreover, papaya aids in rapidly burning dietary fats, one of the main causes of fatty liver disease.
- Grind 5 to 6 dried papaya seeds and mix the powder with 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Take this 2 times a day for 1 month.
- Eat a slice of ripe papaya with honey once daily.
- Include raw papaya soup and salad in your diet.
Indian gooseberry, also known as amla, is another effective remedy for fatty liver disease. Its high antioxidant vitamin C content helps keep the liver functioning at optimal levels.
It also helps get rid of harmful toxins from the liver. Moreover, amla is good for people who have high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes.
- You can eat 3 to 4 raw amla daily or include the fruit in your cooking.
- Alternatively, mix 1 teaspoon of amla powder in a glass of warm water and drink it twice daily.
Follow a healthy plant-based diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats to improve your liver function and treat fatty liver disease.
- Avoid all types of high fructose corn syrup.
- Steer clear of white flour and include whole-grain products in your diet.
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fatty fish, fish oils, flaxseed, walnuts, and tofu.
- Eat detoxifying and liver-repairing superfoods such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. While cooking, lightly steam your vegetables to retain their nutritional value.
- Eat more fiber-rich fruits like apple, guava, blueberries, and so on. However, do not eat fruits in excess as most fruits are high in sugar.
- Avoid spicy and fried foods and fatty meats. Include more plant-based foods in your diet.
Regular physical exercise can help treat fatty liver disease. A regular exercise program will help in maintaining a stable body weight as well as fighting obesity. It will also increase your metabolism rate and help maintain proper liver function.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. If you are new to exercise, begin with a low-impact exercise regimen and gradually incorporate high-impact exercises. It is best to start exercising under the guidance of an expert.