The liver is the largest internal organ in the body and when it is diagnosed to contain over 5% fat, then it is a fatty liver.
This means the liver is not functioning properly, as it should break down fat, not accumulate it.
Many do not think that a fatty liver is a big health issue, but according to Malaysian Liver Foundation (MLF) president Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican, about 60% of Malaysians risk dying due to fatty liver – largely because they are unaware of or ignore the problem.
A seemingly benign condition
The risk factors for having a fatty liver include:
• alcohol consumption
• being overweight or obese
• unhealthy diet intake (food high in fat or carbohydrates)
• long-term medication use
• rapid weight loss
• exposure to chemicals, pollution or contamination
• metabolic conditions (such as Type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia)
• virus infection
• family history
Liver is a super worker that does not complain until almost exhausted.
Known as the silent organ, it has limited nerves, which means poor liver health rarely shows direct symptoms.
Similarly, fatty liver does not significantly affect health although its presence means you may be at risk of getting liver disease.
Fat accumulation in the liver is an early indicator of poor liver health.
The accumulated fat is prone to be oxidised by free radicals, which causes eventual damage, and inflammation of liver cell membranes, which progresses to chronic liver condition.
Do not procrastinate
Liver cell membranes consist of bilayer phospholipids, which are vital for maintaining cell structure and function as they are the main building blocks for the cell membrane.
Damaged liver cell membranes indicate missing parts of the phospholipids bilayer, just like lost puzzle pieces.
Replenishing essential phospholipids is crucial as it repairs and regenerates healthy liver cells.
You also need to boost the liver’s metabolism to enhance the breaking-down process of excess fat layer and detoxification.
Nutrients your liver need to support a healing process and protect it from further damage include:
• Essential phospholipids
> solely phosphatidylcholine (a type of phospholipid that makes up 85% of liver cell membranes) isolated from soybeans
> the “regenerator” facilitates damaged liver cell membrane repair and healthy liver cell regeneration
• B vitamins
> Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12
> the “detoxifier” improves metabolism, which assists in breaking down excess fat for energy, and detoxification
• Vitamin E
> vitamin with potent antioxidant properties
> the “protector” helps minimise further damage caused by free radicals and oxidative stress