Updated: Sep 19
Causes of Alcohol-Related Fatty Liver Disease (ALD)
The only cause of alcohol-related fatty liver disease is alcohol. This is obvious to medical experts because those who drink more than two to three drinks daily for long periods of time will often have fatty liver disease - and the fatty liver disease may disappear when the person gives up alcohol.
There are usually no symptoms with alcoholic fatty liver disease. However, some people do experience fatigue, pain in the liver area of the abdomen, and weakness. The cells of the liver are storing large amounts of fat in the form of triglycerides.
Alcohol-related fatty liver disease is not the only liver problem caused by alcohol. Hepatitis can also result. Hepatitis means that the liver cells become inflamed. In fact, in hepatitis, you'll find the same fat deposition in the liver cells along with inflammation and scarring of the liver.
The symptoms worsen with hepatitis and there may be nausea and vomiting, fever and the patient may lose his appetite. His or her skin may also turn yellow because of jaundice.
Alcoholic hepatitis can progress to a severe health condition that results in a quick death. However, it can also be a condition that is reversed. Diet plays a big part in how well the person recovers.
Alcoholic cirrhosis is one additional health problem that is brought on by drinking alcohol. Cirrhosis is the worst because of the scarring in the liver. With scarring, regular liver tissue is replaced with hard, fibrotic tissue that has lost its function. Unfortunately, it's more difficult to reverse scarring.
When liver conditions progress to the cirrhosis state, there's edema - swelling - in the abdomen as well as the veins in the abdomen enlarging, called caput medusa because the veins are visible underneath the skin and look like a twisted body of a snake. The condition can progress to kidney failure, coma and death.
If an alcholic shows fatty liver disease, it can then progress to hepatitis and then cirrhosis. It's not true that fatty liver disease will always progress in this fashion, and sometimes patients who drink a lot of alcohol have hepatitis but not the cirrhosis. One thing is certain though: continuing to drink alcohol will worsen the condition.
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Fatty Liver Detox
You may have heard the term, "fatty liver detox" but do not know what it means. A fatty liver detox is the use of a diet that will specifically detoxify the liver. It's a diet that will start the reversal of the cells affected by fatty liver disease to normal. This is not making any type of medical claim; the liver is one of the only organs in the body that we know of that can and does regenerate itself when you give it what it needs. A fatty liver detox may be a juice cleanse or a diet with specific foods. Here's an example of a fatty liver detox that is a juice cleanse:
Breakfast: Wake Me Up Juice - Carrot-Apple-Strawberry-Spinach-Lemon Juice Lunch: Green Juice Supreme - Tomato-Kale-Spinach-Parsley-Carrot-Bell Pepper-Cilantro Juice
Dinner: Beauty Juice - Carrot-Bell Pepper-Cucumber-Parsnip-Celery Juice
You can see that this juice diet is full of vegetables, which are the #1 food to start the liver regeneration.
Fasting on fresh juices includes drinking water in between the juices. There may be a weight loss that occurs on this detox but vegetable fruit juices are loaded with nutrients. One pound of carrots gives you one cup of juice, and it has more nutrients than what you could eat if you sat down to eat carrots.
You can ease into this fatty liver detox by eliminating caffeine and alcohol from your diet for a week prior to starting this fatty liver juice detox. You can also decrease the processed foods and sugar in your diet, as both of these foods provide no benefits for you and your liver. The fatty liver juice detox may be done for 3 days, 5 days, a week, 2 weeks, or even 30 to 45 days.
Your body tells you when it's finished with the fatty liver detox by giving you ideas to eat again. These aren't ideas such as "That bacon really smells good" or "I would love a crispy creme donut right now!" but instead, they are ideas such as "I must start eating today!" and "It's time to eat!"
Here's an example of a fatty liver detox with meals instead of with juice:
Breakfast: Fresh tomato basil juice, omelet with vegetables, whole grain toast with butter, orange segments
Snack: Protein shake
Lunch: Raw vegetable salad with spinach, Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, broccoli, hot peppers, artichoke hearts, tangerine segments, walnuts, steak, and parsley
Dinner: Salmon, yam, asparagus, whole grain roll with butter, cherries, blueberries, and strawberries
Snack: Handful of raw sprouted almonds (soaked in water overnight and rinsed)
You can see that eating a fatty liver detox diet is full of plenty of flavors and great tastes to delight your taste buds, yet it has no processed foods, no alcohol, no excessive amounts of sugar or salt, and is full of green vegetables to regenerate the liver.