I’ve touched on the topic of fatty liver disease in this space before. Although, given the rising prominence of the problem, we probably haven’t talked about it enough.
It’s a topic I covered in depth back in the December 2012 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives. (And that’s why I encourage everyone to subscribe. My newsletter gives me an opportunity to discuss topics that I simply can’t give adequate coverage to here.)
For now, let me take just a minute to get you up to speed on fatty liver disease. Before I share some new research that could change the course of this epidemic-in-the-making.
In a nutshell, excessive calorie intake turns into an excess of dangerous fats called triglycerides. Your liver is responsible for cleaning up this mess. But when it’s saddled with more than it can handle, the fat just keeps building up–resulting in a condition called fatty liver.
Fatty liver is a common consequence of alcohol abuse. But cases of the non-alcoholic variety–termed non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)–have been on the rise.
Statistics show that nearly a third of the population in Western countries may be dealing with fatty liver–including as many as one in ten children. Obesity and diabetes have absolutely contributed to this increase. And while the consequences aren’t always deadly, you better believe they can be.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease often has no symptoms at all. But if left unchecked, it can develop into non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)–the fancy term for an inflamed liver. Unlike plain old fatty liver, this can impact your liver function, leading to scarring (cirrhosis) and potentially cancer.
Once fatty liver disease progresses to NASH, there may be no saving your liver at all. And I’m sure I don’t have to explain why that’s a problem.
The fact of the matter is, fatty liver disease is shaping up to be a modern public health disaster, on par with heart disease and diabetes. And it’s way past time we started making a serious effort to address it.
So how do you do that? Well I’m glad you asked. Because brand new clinical research–some of the first of its kind on human subjects–shows that a single supplement may be the secret.
Malaysian researchers recruited 87 adults with untreated high cholesterol and NAFLD. They randomly assigned the subjects to two groups–one that took 200 mg of vitamin E (in the form of mixed tocotrienols) twice a day and one group that took a placebo.
After a year, ultrasounds showed normalization of liver health in roughly half of the subjects taking tocotrienols. Results were far less remarkable among the placebo group. They experienced liver normalization at a rate of only 23.5 percent.
Patients in the tocotrienol group also benefited from higher rates of remission. While at least two patients in the placebo group ended up with a more severe case of fatty liver than when they started. (Neither group suffered from any adverse effects.)
This study used 400 mg of mixed tocotrienols daily. But I usually recommend 800 IU of full-spectrum vitamin E per day. Always choose a supplement with high levels of gamma tocopherol, along with all the other tocopherols and tocotrienols. (There are four of each, making a total of eight.)
Ultimately, if researchers got these incredible results with supplements alone, just imagine what a difference they could make in combination with simple-yet-critical lifestyle changes. (Like following my New Hamptons Health Miracle and getting more exercise.) It could put an end to NAFLD altogether.
Source: “Tocotrienols for normalisation of hepatic echogenic response in nonalcoholic fatty liver: a randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Nutr J. 2013 Dec 27;12(1):166.