Gut Problems Associated with Fatty Liver

Saturday, May 30, 2009
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

Normally we think of adverse accumulation of fat in the liver being caused by excess alcohol and over-eating.  A new study demonstrates for the first time that an overgrowth of improper bacteria1 and/or a “leaky gut” are associated with the severity of a build up of undesirable fat in the liver – a key marker of disease risk and progression into the metabolic syndromeMetabolic syndrome indicates a higher risk for heart disease, heart failure, and diabetes. It is diagnosed when a person has three or more of the following risk factors: high blood pressure, excess abdominal fat, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, and high fasting blood sugar..

There is a blood supply between your digestive tract and your liver so that nutrition you eat is delivered to your liver for processing and distribution around your body.  For many years I have considered hemorrhoids a condition of “dirty blood,” often resolving their ongoing nature by improving liver function.  In a reverse manner, this study shows that gut problems can have a major impact on liver health.  Rather than simply delivering nutrition to your liver, an imbalanced gut apparently delivers metabolically confusing and likely toxic molecules – significantly interfering with liver function and causing fatty build up in the liver.

This means that we need to pay attention to gut problems, if they exist, in any person who is gaining weight in the midsection (which also means they are typically gaining adverse fat in their liver as well).  High quality friendly flora (acidophilus) may be an important tool for weight management in those with co-existing digestive problems.


Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Leaky Gut and Fatty Liver Problems  Hepatology  Miele, Luca; Valenza, Venanzio; La Torre, Giuseppe; Montalto, Massimo; Cammarota, Giovanni; Ricci, Riccardo; Masciana, Roberta; Forgione, Alessandra; Gabrieli, Maria; Perotti, Germano; Vecchio, Fabio; Rapaccini, Gian Ludovico; Gasbarrini, Giovanni, et al.

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