"It's estimated that up to 1 in every 3 people in the UK has early stages of Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease"
When our fat cells can’t cope anymore with storing fat – the liver takes the burden and becomes the “overflow” storage organ for fat. This sets the stage for a vicious cycle and metabolic dysfunction.
As the fats in blood increase, gene function in the liver is inhibited causing more fat to be dumped there. At the same time, levels of leptin are increased – causing a corresponding fall in the fat-burning hormone known as adiponectin. Low adiponectin levels lead to insulin resistance in the liver – which then causes blood sugar to rise – and this sugar is then converted to more fat.
Early symptoms of NAFLD (Non Fatty Liver Disease) may be mild:
- Extreme Fatigue
- Discomfort in upper right abdomen
- Difficulty losing weight
Losing weight can help to slowly unclog the liver, reduce the amount of stored fat, thereby speeding up the metabolism as well as to help to reduce blood sugar, harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Dietary suggestions to unclog the liver and support its optimal function:
- A Mediterranean diet (vegetables, fruits, antioxidant spices and herbs, whole grains, oily fish, nuts and olive oil) have been shown to benefit liver health.
Liver nourishing foods include : cruciferous veg (Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, broccoli, rocket (arugula), watercress)
Bitter foods: rocket, radicchio, dandelion greens
- Practising some intermittent fasting can also help un-clog the liver, even if you can only manage a 12 hour overnight fast, as it allows the body to rest and regenerate.
- Ensure you are eating enough protein. If you are not consuming enough protein this can impair your liver’s ability to carry out it’s detoxifying and metabolic functions.
- Drink plenty of pure water to help flush out excess toxins.
The great news is that we can support our hard working liver with specific nutrients which have been supported by scientific research:
- AGED GARLIC can help shift unwanted fat from being dumped in the liver.
- VITAMIN D deficiencies are linked to NAFLD (Non Alcohol Fatty Liver Disease) : Vitamin D deficiency leads to the release of pro-inflammatory agents that can contribute to fatty liver disease
- BERGAMOT & ARTICHOKE EXTRACTS - Bergamot fruit extract has been shown to lower blood sugar, reduce inflammation, improve blood vessel activity and artichoke boosts your production of bile.
It turns out that we really are ‘the sum total of our experiences.’ Had I known then the impact of many of my decisions, I may have made changes earlier, but it turns out that we must live life to truly understand it.
I was definitely living life. Perceived invincibility provided me with the tunnel vision which enabled me to dash from one task to another, ticking off one more achievement, adventure and accolade.
Of course you can’t sustain this symphonic level of intensity without topping up the tank with quick access fuel, mine came in the form of sugar- packets of delicious sweets and finely baked biscuits.
I also gradually began to neglect my regular exercise regimen in exchange for a membership in the weekend warrior club. Gut irritation and a little extra weight accumulated, but, as far as I was concerned, I felt normal for a 40-something professional.
‘That’ evening, the one that irreversibly shook up my life, Thursday 3 December, I found myself staring eternity squarely in the face. I had returned home from work with my two girls. It had been a stressful day capped by a suitably heated, hard-hitting quarrel that left me trembling.
I did not generally consider my life stressful, and yet I knew that I ran at a pretty high-octane pace. But that was OK, because, despite warnings from others, I was, or believed I was, bulletproof.
I wore my intensity like a shiny badge of honour. On that evening, however, the engine said ‘no more’; you can’t drive even the most brilliantly engineered sports cars at 5000 RPM indefinitely.
It took my mum, who spotted me bent over, clutching my chest, rubbing my arms on FaceTime and my daughter's subsequent fear-filled plea to get help for me to make the medical call. Reluctantly, in a haze of pain, I did make the call. In minutes an ambulance was there.
Pride masking the danger, I couldn’t help, but feel that all this commotion was quite unnecessary. The seasoned paramedics quickly assessed my traumatised frame, blood pressure surging through my veins like a blocked firehose. They looked me straight in the eyes, piercing my vanity, and said, “We are taking you to hospital. Now.”
‘That’ evening marked the beginning of a myriad of changes. Naturally, and most significantly was that of my health, but also, running neatly alongside, compelling me, almost without choice, was my desire to capture the goodness in life around me.
Being in hospital forced me to slow down and rest, my senses sharpened and my eyes opened to the subtleties in the world around me, to things I had not previously noticed before.
I became acutely aware of nuances in conversation, of the sacrifices of those around me and of the delicacy of relationships. I was also painfully cognizant, in increasing measure, of the compounding effects of the bad choices I had made for my body- sugar addiction, stress, exercise withdrawal and sleep deprivation.
Buckminster Fuller once said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” So, that is what I did (and am doing), engineering a new, more tantalising model for life.
My diet, for instance, has been transformed. The once glutinous intake has been replaced with cleaner foods, nutrition straight from the earth and, perhaps more importantly, I expunged sweets.
Implored by the immediacy of the situation, I also instilled radical changes to my work routine and introduced regular, gentler exercises in the great outdoors. The list goes on, but I feel that, if indeed we are ‘the sum total of our experiences,’ I have been gifted a lifeline with which to significantly alter the outcome of my time here on earth. And, I must say, my heart feels good, very good indeed.
NOTE FROM THE NAKED PHARMACY
Jeff Schmidt is the Author/illustrator of the bestselling book:
HEART ATTACK- Finding hope, joy and inspiration through adversity.
Accumulation of belly fat is something that can creep up over the years and catch us by surprise. It is suggested that on average adults gain ~1.5kg annually and never shed that weight. Why is that?
The answer is often our lifestyle. Reducing calorie intake and supporting gut health by increasing your vegetable intake will support weight loss but shifting belly fat can be more troublesome. Coupled with this is the effect this fat is having internally - on our blood vessels and heart for example.
One of the biggest culprits driving stubborn belly fat is sugar intake
Hidden sugars in many foods and drinks will increase the accumulation of fat in the tissues and blood vessels. Look at the sugar contents of many cereals, breads, fizzy drinks etc and try to cut them out completely. Every improvement you make by increasing exercise or supplementing can be completely counteracted by your sugary intakes.
One clinically tested solution for bad fats is Metabolic Gold, a natural food supplement made from Italian bergamot fruits. Studies have shown that 2 capsules daily with food for a period of 4 months can help manage weight and cholesterol alongside a healthy eating and exercise routine. How does it do this? Each tablet is packed full of active ‘power house’ polyphenols at 35% effective strength. These polyphenols bind to bad fats from our diets in our gut and tissues. They also help to balance cholesterol in the liver. Double whammy!
When it comes to protecting our heart we can further help by supplementing our diet with daily Aged Black Garlic. This has been shown to help relax our blood vessels, allowing for more efficient circulation of blood to our tissues. How does it do this?...Our Black Garlic is selected due to its naturally high concentrations of the chemical allicin. A six month aging and fermentation process converts allicin to active S-allyl cysteine (S-AC). This high strength, premium grade S-AC provides the protection for our cardiovascular system. Aged Black Garlic and Metabolic Gold are a perfect combination, working in harmony with each other on separate cardiovascular systems.