Fatty Liver – Signs, Symptoms and How to Prevent It

Fatty Liver - Signs, Symptoms and How to Prevent It
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The liver is the body’s second largest organ and plays an important role by breaking down fats, detoxifying the blood and changing the sugar naturally stored in a person’s body to usable sugar when normal glucose levels get low. It is important look after your liver to keep it healthy and to watch out for liver diseases such as a fatty Liver disease.


What is Fatty Liver Disease?

Fatty liver, or steatosis, is a broad term that describes the buildup of fats in the liver. Having fat in your liver is normal, but if more than 5 to 10 percent is fat, then it is called fatty liver disease.

Fatty liver is quite common and 10 to 20 percent of Americans have too much fat in their liver. Most cases of fatty liver are detected between ages 50 and 60.

There are two main types fatty liver disease:

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease occurs when your liver has trouble breaking down fats, causing fat to build up in your liver tissue.

It is not clear what causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and heredity is often thought to play a role in its occurrence. The wide range of diseases and conditions linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is so diverse that it’s difficult to pinpoint any one cause. It often affects people who are overweight and/or are in their 40’s and 50’s.

Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD)

This type of liver disease is pretty self-explanatory. It is thought to occur because of excess alcohol consumption or binge drinking. Heredity is thought to play a role in its occurrence and severity also.

Symptoms of Fatty Liver Disease

The symptoms of fatty liver disease are usually very subtle but can include:

  • Tiredness
  • Weight loss or poor appetite
  • Pain in the upper right abdomen
  • A feeling of overall weakness
  • Nausea
  • Trouble concentrating or confusion
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)

For more information about signs of liver damage, read my post about the early signs of liver damage and how to strengthen your liver.


How to Prevent Fatty Liver Disease

Looking after you liver is one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health. I’ve already written in great detail about the 5 common habits that damage your liver which you must avoid to keep your liver in top working condition. Here are other things you can do specifically for the prevention of fatty liver disease:

Lifestyle Changes

  • Lose weight. If you’re overweight, reduce the number of calories you eat each day and increase your physical activity in order to lose weight.
  • Choose a healthy diet. Eat a healthy diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Exercise and be more active. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
  • Control your diabetes. Follow your doctor’s instructions to stay in control of your diabetes. Take your medications as directed and closely monitor your blood sugar.
  • Lower your cholesterol. A healthy diet, exercise and medications can help keep your cholesterol and your triglycerides at healthy levels.
  • Protect your liver. Avoid things that will put extra stress on your liver. For example, don’t drink alcohol. Follow the instructions on all medications and over-the-counter drugs and avoid other common habits that can damage your liver.

Home Remedies

Many people turn to medical treatments and drugs to help reduce their risk of getting or treating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. But there may be a better and more natural way for a person to do this and that is by using some effective home remedies. Here are a few choices that have been shown to be effective.

Milk Thistle Extract and Amla (Gooseberry)


Studies suggest that these two natural supplements help support healthy liver functioning. Amla has long been thought of as a powerful antioxidant and is now showing positive signs of improving liver functioning. Milk Thistle is a flower that is known to contain a large amount of a flavonoid called Silymarin that is thought to be beneficial for liver function also.

Related post: top 6 herbs to detox your liver

Consume Liver Boosting vegetables

These vegetables contain a high amount of the mineral Sulphur which is thought be beneficial which supports your liver in its detoxification process.

Garlic, onions, leeks and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are particularly helpful.


Patients that have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease often show signs of elevated levels of harmful transaminase enzymes in the liver (also known as AST and ALT). According to a 2012 study conducted at the Gastrointestinal and Liver Clinic of Qazvin in central Iran licorice was found to help bring those enzyme levels back to normal.


The participants in the study received 1 capsule containing 2 g licorice root extract alone daily for 2 months.

Natural Bile Boosters

Bile found in the liver helps to emulsify fats that have been eaten by a person to help digestion. Here are a few natural bile boosters:

  • Artichokes
  • Dandelion
  • Green tea
  • Lemon juice


In one study, people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease who reported drinking coffee had less liver damage than those who drank little or no coffee. It’s not clear how coffee may influence liver damage or how much coffee you’d need to drink in order to prevent or treat fatty liver disease. For more information about the link between coffee consumption and liver health read my article on what drinking coffee does to your liver.

More Tips For Keeping Your Liver Healthy





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12 Responses to Fatty Liver – Signs, Symptoms and How to Prevent It

  1. Estela Todriguez says:

    I have fatty liver because of all my medical medication

  2. Amie Bairulla says:

    I was told by my Dr that I have fatty liver.I am under medication for hypertension, cholesterol & diabetes . I had been operated for stones in the bladder. If I lie down on my either side ( left or right) I feel a sharp pain on my upper stomach.

  3. Rosita Arroyo says:

    I have a fatty liver I just had a surgery last 5th August 2015 I am seeking an advice I wanted to live healthy for the rest of my life I am now 52 years of age .

    Please advice what medication should I take to save my liver from damage.

    Thanking you.


    • Jenny says:

      Hi Rosita, I’m not a doctor hence cannot give specific advice or what medications to take. This is a special condition that needs to be dealt by a professional health practitioner who knows your health history and can perform the required tests.

    • bonjo says:

      fatty liver is cause by too much carb diet . when you allow yourself to go on fasting daily like no food from 5 to 6 pm daily and eat your breakfast 10am. . your pancreas will release glucagon so that your liver will convert its fat deposit to glucose . vegetable juicing is also better than eating carbohydrates.

  4. mj says:

    Ive heard coffee enemas help release of bile , and has a knock on effect helping the liver dump n clear out…..is this true? Any other info from anyone thanks

    • Jenny says:

      There are side effects of coffee enema which you need to take into consideration – have a look here. Also the American Journal of Gastroenterology We suggest that coffee enema carries considerable risk of provoking unwanted complications and should be reconsidered as an alternative treatment (see here).

  5. marium tiki says:

    My husband is 43 years old and suffer in fatty liver non alcoholic over weight and diabetic how should i save him ?

  6. Shereen says:

    I had fatty liver due to being overweight. I couldn’t take satins for my high cholesterol. I had gastric sleeve in Feb. Best decision ever. Also had issues with vertigo. No longer.

  7. niyaz AHMAD says:

    I am suffering from gallbladder polyps,largest one measuring 4mm.what is the remedy?

  8. Lillith says:

    I now have cirrhosis of the liver due to NAFLD untreated. I do not drink alcohol and am underweight now. I have Hashimotos, vitaligo, am also a type 1 diabetic (brought on by the steroids I am taking for the cirrhosis. Last ultrasound showed no movement either way not better or worse. Is there anything I can do to help my liver. I would like to put off a transplant as long as possible. Thanks for the information

    • Jenny Hills says:

      Hi Lillith, unfortunately I’m unable to give specific advise since I’m not a doctor, and because you have several conditions I don’t want to do more harm than good. From what I’ve read in mayo Clinic: “The liver damage done by cirrhosis generally can’t be undone. But if liver cirrhosis is diagnosed early and the cause is treated, further damage can be limited and, rarely, reversed”.

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