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Ayurvedic Management of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

Introduction

The Liver is the second largest organ of the human body whose weight is approximately 1.6 kg.

Some of the main functions of liver are

  • It metabolizes important proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
  • It helps in producing and clearing cholesterol in the body.
  • The liver secretes blood clotting factors which help in stopping the excessive blood flow during a cut or any injury.
  • It also secretes bile. Bile helps in the digestion of fats and fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K.
  • It stores iron, copper, and Vitamins such as A, D, E, K and B12.
  • The liver cleanses the blood by eliminating harmful wastes, drugs, and toxic substances from it.

causes of liver diseases

What are the common disorders that affect the liver?

Disorders that affect the liver are Hepatitis (Inflammation of the liver), Cirrhosis (scarring), fatty liver and cancer. Common causes of liver disorders are metabolism, hereditary, virus infection such as Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E, intake of alcohol and drugs.

What is fatty liver?

The normal liver has 5% fat only. When the amount of fat increases by 10%, then healthy liver tissues gets converted into fatty tissues. This disorder is known as fatty liver or steatosis. In other words, this condition can be described as a liver that sucks fat.

What are the causes of fatty liver?

  • Excessive intake of alcohol
  • Overweight
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes Mellitus

causes of fatty liver

What is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)?

Fatty liver has two basic types:

  • Persons who have more alcohol intake, the fatty liver reaches the first stage of the disease, which gradually leads to cirrhosis if the alcohol intake is continued.
  • Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is a term used to describe the fat deposition in those patients who take alcohol in smaller quantities or do not consume alcohol at all.

What is NASH?

Due to the deposition of fats in the Patients Suffering from NAFLD, there is an inflammation and necrosis (death of tissues of the liver). The presence of dead tissues and inflammation lead to a chronic disorder known as Non-Alcoholic Steato Hepatitis (NASH). The word Steato means fat and Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Patients who are suffering from NASH are at the risk of developing cirrhosis.

NAFLD and NASH — Facts and Figures

  • In India, the incidence of NAFLD is commonly seen in obese, diabetes or prediabetic people.
  • 80% of patients suffering from NAFLD are obese.
  • It affects 40-70% of the patients suffering from diabetes.
  • In normal children, NAFLD disease has increased up to 3-10% in the last 10 years and increases up to 8-80% in overweight/obese children.
  • Nearly 2-3% thin and 15-20% obese people have NASH.

What are the risk factors associated with NAFLD?

The risk factors associated with NAFLD are:

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Age: It mostly occurs in the persons above the age of 50 years. It is most commonly seen in men.
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
  • High levels of cholesterol or triglycerides in the blood.

What are the symptoms of NAFLD?

There are no specific Signs and Symptoms of NAFLD. But, when the disease develops, it causes pain and discomfort in the upper part of the abdomen and fatigue.

How NAFLD is diagnosed?

Following are the tests that are used for the diagnosis of NAFLD:

  • LFT: It is a blood test which measures the concentrations of various enzymes and proteins in the blood which are produced by the liver. Patients suffering from NAFLD have elevated levels of liver enzymes.
  • Imaging tests: Imaging tests such as ultrasound, Computed Tomography (CT) scan or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
  • Biopsy: A liver biopsy is a procedure in which a small needle is inserted into the liver to collect a tissue sample. Liver biopsy is done to differentiate between NASH and fatty liver.

What are the disorders and complications associated with NASH?

Patients suffering from NASH have higher risks of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disorders or stroke.

What are the steps to prevent NAFLD?

The change in lifestyle is the first step towards the prevention of NAFLD.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Choose a healthy diet.
  • Be regular with your physical exercises.
  • Don’t take any medicine without a physician’s consultation.
  • Intake of alcohol should be under control.
  • Quit smoking.

Modern treatment for liver disorders include the prescription of drugs but currently available drugs have more systemic toxicity therefore, physicians hesitate to administer these drugs for long term use.

According to modern medicine, liver transplantation is one of the options for chronic liver disorders but this treatment option bears several risks and is unaffordable for most of the patients in many countries, particularly in India. Further, liver transplant is a complex procedure as it requires sophisticated infrastructure, expensive drugs and prolonged stays in ICUs.

What is the Ayurvedic perspective on liver disorders?

In Ayurveda, the liver is considered as a well-known organ. It is known as”Yakrit”. The word “Yakrit” is made from two words: Yat + Krit. “Yat” means conversion and “Krit” means to do. Yakrit is a site of Raktdhatu where blood is stored. In Ayurveda, there are many herbs and their extracts that have been shown to possess hepatoprotective activities.

These herbs have biochemical active components that protect the liver from oxidative stress, promote virus elimination, block fibrogenesis, anti-inflammatory, immune-modulating, liver generating properties. Traditional Indian Medicinal system known as Ayurveda has generated extensive empirical knowledge and treated various complicated disorders since ages.

NAFLD can be successfully treated with the help of herbs and herbal remedies.

Ayurvedic Treatment of Fatty LIver

Natural Treatment of Fatty LIver

What is the treatment of NAFLD by Planet Ayurveda?

Planet Ayurveda offers effective herbal remedies for the treatment of NAFLD. These remedies are:

  1. Indian Echinacea Capsules
  2. Yakrit Plihantak Churna
  3. Phyllanthus Niruri Capsules
  4. Liver Detox Formula

1. Indian Echinacea Capsules

Planet Ayurveda’s Echinacea Capsules contain the standardized extract of the herb Andographis paniculata. This herb is known as “King of Bitters”. In Sanskrit, this herb is known by the name “Kalmegh”. This herb has been used for liver disorders, lack of appetite, purification of blood since ages. It reduces vitiated Kapha and Pitta dosha. It is useful for the treatment of liver disorders as it stimulates liver, expels out excess Pitta from the body.

Dose: 2 capsules twice daily with plain water after meals.

2.Yakrit Plihantak Churna

Planet Ayurveda’s Yakrit Plihantak Churna is a wonderful combination of unique herbs that are known to improve the functioning of the liver. The herbs used in this formulation influence the functioning of the liver by regenerating liver cells, relieving inflammation, eliminating toxins, etc.

Ingredients used in the preparation of Yakrit Plihantak Churna are:

Sr. No. Ingredient Name Common Name Parts Used Quantity (200 gm)
1. Phyllanthus niruri Bhumi Amla Whole 60 gm
2. Andrographis paniculata Kalmegh Whole 20 gm
3. Eclipta alba Bhringraj Whole 20 gm
4. Tephrosia purpurea Sharpunkha Roots 20 gm
5. Cichorium intybus Kaasni Roots 20 gm
6. Picrorrhiza kurrao Katuki Stem 20 gm
7. Solanum indicum Makoy Whole 20 gm
8. Boerhavia diffusa Punarnava Roots 20 gm

Dose: 1/2-1 teaspoonful of herbal powder with plain water after meals should be taken.

3.Phyllanthus Niruri Capsules

Phyllanthus Niruri Capsules contain the standardized extract of the herb Bhumyamalaki. This herb is considered as hepatoprotective. This herb reduces vitiated Kapha and Pitta dosha. It is a coolant by nature. Therefore, these capsules are very useful in enhancing the functioning of the diseased liver. Its root, leaves and the whole plant is used as an herbal supplement. This plant has also been used for centuries as an herbal remedy for urinary calculi.

Dose: 2 capsules twice daily with plain water after meals.

4.Liver Detox Formula

Liver Detox Formula by Planet Ayurveda is obtained from the mixture of different herbs that are helpful in the cleansing liver and keeps it healthy and strong. This formulation is designed to revive the damaged liver cells and gives strength to the body.

Ingredients of Liver Detox Formula are:

Sr. No. Ingredient Name Common Name Quantity
1. Picrorrhiza kurrao Kutki 200 mg
2. Boerrhavia diffusa Punarnava 100 mg
3. Andographis paniculata Kalmegh 50 mg
4. Solanum indicum Makoy 25 mg
5. Chicorum intybus Kaasni 25 mg
6. Achillea millefolium Biranjasipha 25 mg
7. Tamarix galluca Jhavuka 25 mg
8. Capparis spinosa Himsra 25 mg
9. Terminalia chebula Haritaki 25 mg

Dose: 2 capsules twice daily with plain water after meals.

How to Reduce the Chances of Fatty Liver Disease Naturally

Overview

Fatty liver is a condition or a disease of the liver in which fat build up in the liver and results in its inflammation. Consumption of over fat and alcohol results into fatty liver.

Symptoms of fatty LIver

The symptoms which give a clears picture of having fatty liver and requires attention are-

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Dull abdominal pain
  • Flatulence
  • Bloating
  • Blood sugar imbalance
  • Cramping
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Jaundice
  • Nausea

There are natural ways if followed will help to keep our liver healthy and free from the complications which can result in a damaged liver. Our lifestyle and dietary habits are very much counted to be responsible for fatty liver or other complications related to the liver.

Let us discuss the ways which can help to avoid Fatty Liver.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

  • Overweight is always unhealthy and a reason for many problems. When one continues with overeating, fried, and greasy food it leads to accumulation of fat on the liver. So one should always have a balanced diet which can avoid the fat accumulation and controls the body weight.

Body Detoxification

  • When one gets into direct contact of toxins- industrial chemicals,  certain medications, and even the food that we eat, than these toxins affect our body. It starts harming our liver and become a reason for fatty liver. Therefore one should keep oneself free from these toxins This can be done through detoxification.

Get Your Antioxidants

  • Intake of vitamins are very much required for  healthy working of the body. So one should take Vitamin E and C as both are good antioxidants and helps to promote liver health.

Try Herbal Medicine

  • Intake of too much of allopathic medicines can also harm our liver. Therefore one should move towards Ayurveda- natural and herbal products because it helps our body produce enzymes and boost immunity which help to flush out the toxins and keep our organs safe and strong.

stages of liver disease

Simple Home Remedies for Fatty Liver

Let’s discuss few of the home  remedies or the easily available things which helps in curing Fatty liver

Coffee to lower abnormal liver enzymes

  • Coffee is good to be consumed if you have fatty liver but in a limit. As it helps to lower down the abnormal liver enzymes.

Tofu(Soya Paneer)

  • Tofu is full of protein with very low fat. Therefore it helps to reduce the accumulation of fat on the liver.

Fish

  • Fish is a good source of omega-3 and fatty acid. Intake of it helps in decreasing the fat level of liver which eases the inflammation.

Oatmeal

  • Intake of oatmeal which is rich in carbohydrate give energy to the body. Its Consumption help in maintaining normal body weight.

Walnut

  • It is full of omega-3 and fatty acid and consumption of it improve the liver function.

Avocado

  • It has healthy fats and chemical which slows down the liver damage. Avocado is also rich in fiber which helps in maintaining normal weight.

Sunflower seeds-

  • These seeds are rich in vitamin E and have an antioxidant property which protects the liver from further damage.

Olive oil

  • This oil is rich in omega-3 and fatty acid and consumption of it lower downs the abnormal liver enzymes and controls and manages the weight.

Garlic

  • It is one of the most common spices used in every kitchen and it is overloaded with benefits. Its Consumption reduces the body weight and accumulation of fat on the liver. Thus it helps in treating fatty liver.

Green Tea

  • Intake of Green tea helps in reducing the accumulated fat and also improves the liver function. Green tea  lowers down the cholesterol and induces the sleep.

Papaya

  • It is a fruit which has the function of burning fat from the body. This fruit is having an anti-oxidant property which makes it useful in treating fatty liver. It can be taken as fruit.  The fried papaya seeds with lemon juice twice daily is very beneficial.

Lemon

  • It is a detoxifier which helps the liver in producing glutathione (enzyme). Lemon is a good source of vitamin C which in production of the enzyme required to overcome Fatty Liver. Consumed as lemon water.

Herbs which help in Fatty Liver

  • Turmeric is one of the most common and easily available herbs and spice in every kitchen. This herb is loaded with benefits therefore used in the treatment of many health issues. Turmeric Curcumin Longa has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant property also used as a detoxifier.
  • As per Ayurveda it also balances the vitiated Pitta Dosha. The properties  present in turmeric help in protecting the liver cells from the causes which leads to Fatty Liver. It can be consumed in any form- in cooking, added in milk, or in capsule form.

Indian Gooseberry/Amla

  • It is one the commonly found herb with antioxidant property and acts as a good detoxifier. It helps in maintaining and balancing the liver function. It can be used in powder form or can be eaten raw-3 to 4 daily. Mix 1 teaspoon of amla powder in a glass of lukewarm water and have it.

Golden Seal

  • Golden Seal is one of the best herb used for natural care of the Fatty Liver. This herb has the property of cleansing and purification. It is also helpful in problems related to digestion, UTI, and many more.  The dose of it depends on the factors like- age, health, and other conditions. Taken in powder form-1 teaspoonful twice daily with luke warm water.

Ginger / Adrak ( Zingiber officinale)

  • Ginger is again a commonly available spice of every kitchen. As per Ayurveda, it reduces the formation of Ama the toxins, which makes it beneficial in supporting overall health.
  • Ginger also has the properties which help in the protection of liver from damages like- degenerative liver and fatty liver. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anti-oxidative properties which makes it useful in fatty liver and other health ailments too.
  • It can be used  fresh in cooking or can be consumed in powder form-1 teaspoonful with normal water or as ginger tea, decoction.

Cinnamon

  • Cinnamon has anti-oxidative and detoxifying action which improves the level of enzymes, and anti-diabetic function which makes it beneficial in Fatty Liver. It can be used as a normal spice in cooking,  or as a herbal tea, decoction and in powder form- ½ tsp once in a day.

yoga for fatty liver

Yoga

  • Along with diet doing yoga on the regular basis helps in reducing the fat over liver and it is also good for overall health. Let us discuss the yoga asanas.

Kapalbhati Pranayam

  • Boost the health of the liver and protects from ailments like Fatty liver, liver cirrhosis, Jaundice, and Hepatitis.

Ardha Matsyendrasana

  • It gives strength and stimulates the liver also protects from fibrosis, apoptosis, stress, and inflammation.

Dhanurasana

  • This asana is very helpful in  case of Fatty liver. It strengthen, stretches and stimulates the liver. By doing this asana the accumulated fat will be used as energy.

Gomukhasana

  • It is very helpful in the case of Liver Cirrhosis. Practicing this asana will strengthen, stimulate and stretch the liver

Naukasana

Effective in treating Liver cancer. It also strengthens, stretches and stimulates the liver. Removes the harmful toxins from the liver.

Note

  • Intake of these herbs enriched with health benefits and following proper diet with yoga helps a lot to overcome the diseases of liver, especially Fatty Liver.