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Fatty liver disease – kids & adults

Posted By on October 21, 2016

You or your child may have ‘fatty liver disease’

According to the Canadian Liver Foundation, 25-33% of Canadian adults have this disease.  That’s a lot of people in a population to have a disease – however, most likely don’t even know it.  It has become a quiet epidemic of liver dysfunction.  Not so surprisingly, another newer epidemic is in how often it is now present in children.  Epidemiologic research shows it is in 3-10% of children.  In this post, I’ll inform you of what factors cause it and what can help.

What is fatty liver disease?

Also known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), it essentially means there is excess fat tissue in the liver, which has replaced the normal liver tissue, which reduces the livers normal capacity to function.  It sounds benign, but that fat can lead to inflammation, fibrosis and necrosis in the more advanced type of NAFLD, called steatohepatitis, or even cirrhosis.

Causes of fatty liver disease

  • being overweight
  • poor sleep quality or quantity
  • poor diet quality
  • inadequate activity/exercise
  • diabetes
  • In children:
    • malnutrition during pregnancy
    • hormonal imbalance in pregnancy (see larger graphic)

      NAFLD factors in Pregnancy (Fowden, 2006, Physiology)

      NAFLD factors in Pregnancy (Fowden, 2006, Physiology)

    • epigenetic influences
    • high fructose drinks
    • factors for adults (above)

The build up of fats in the liver is often seen as part of the process of a disturbed overall metabolism (‘metabolic syndrome’).  This may also include overly oxidized fats and cholesterol, insulin resistance, mitochondrial and immune system dysfunction, intestinal microbial imbalance as well as inflammation.

Naturopathic treatments for those with fatty liver disease

  • lifestyle changes such as improved sleep, regular exercise
  • dietary changes such as increased vegetables and fibre; reduced poor quality fats, high starch foods, fructose/sugars
  • herbal treatments such as berberine, milk thistle, turmeric, quercetin
  • omega-3 polyunsaturated fats
  • melatonin
  • probiotics
  • address toxin burdens which can disrupt normal liver functions

To arrange a comprehensive naturopathic assessment, contact our office – 905-597-7201.

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