Fatty liver diseases are fast growing in the U.S.
They occur when excess amounts of fat are deposited in the liver.
In other words, when you eat too many carbs and sugar (cornerstones of the Standard American Diet [SAD]), your body gets overloaded and stores the excess deposits in your liver.
When this occurs, patients are often diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, the diagnosis turns to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) when there are also signs of inflammation and liver cell damage.
Both can turn lethal, especially when left undiagnosed.
Of course, dietary intervention goes a long way against fatty liver.
But research also points to a powerful, natural ally against this increasingly alarming threat…
B vitamins save the day
In a new study, researchers found that elevated blood levels of homocysteine can point to severe fatty liver disease.
Now, I don’t find anything shocking, new, or revolutionary to that finding. It’s one of the reasons I already check homocysteine levels in all of my patients—because NASH is known to be associated with elevated levels.
Yet, conventional medicine rarely tests for this biomarker. Probably because there aren’t any drugs to bring homocysteine levels down… only inexpensive nutritional supplements.
(That’s also probably why insurance companies have a hard time covering the blood test!)
In fact, when homocysteine levels rise, it attaches to various liver proteins and blocks them from transporting and digesting fat. This induces the development and progression of fatty liver disease to NASH.
The good news is, researchers also found supplementing with vitamin B12 and folic acid can help.
In fact, these nutrients increase the levels of liver proteins, assist in restoring the liver’s functionality, slow the progression of NASH, and reverse liver inflammation and fibrosis.
Liver transplant vs. safe supplementation
Typically, patients with severe fatty liver disease are put on a transplant list. That’s a serious, expensive surgery.
So if two supplements that are deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Administration (FDA) can help? Well, I know which route I would choose.
And study investigator Paul M. Yen, MD, seems to agree: “The potential for using vitamin B12 and folate, which have high safety profiles and are designated as dietary supplements by the [FDA], as first-line therapies for the prevention and treatment of NASH could result in tremendous cost savings and reduce the health burden from NASH in both developed and developing countries.”
Ask your doctor to test your homocysteine, B12, and folic acid levels—and then discuss a B-vitamin supplement regimen.
You want your B12 and folic acid levels to be at the upper limits of normal, or even slightly above the normal range. As for homocysteine, this test has a broad range—from 4 to 15 in most labs. The number I often shoot for with my patients, is 8.
Then, I typically recommend 2,000 mcg per daily of B12 and 20 mg per day of folic acid.
To learn more about how important homocysteine is to overall good health—and why pennies-a-day B vitamins can help—check out the February 2017 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives(“The simple test that can save your life in half a dozen different ways”).
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Until next time,
“B Vitamins Show Promise Against Advanced Fatty Liver Disease.” Medscape, 08/11/2022. (medscape.com/viewarticle/979061)