What is it?
Steatosis, or fatty liver, is the most common form of chronic liver disease, replacing alcohol and viral hepatitis as the most common cause of cirrhosis of the liver. Patients with fatty liver and alcoholism or viral hepatitis are much more likely to have liver cell damage and cirrhosis.
What causes it?
Fatty liver is caused by the accumulation of triglyceride fat deposits within liver cells due to abnormal liver metabolism. Excessive fat in liver cells provokes inflammation and activates the immune system. Simple blood tests can suggest the presence of inflammation caused by these deposits but cannot assure the definitive cause.
Because the only way to prove a diagnosis of steatosis is to perform a biopsy of the liver (which carries a risk of bleeding), many physicians make the diagnosis by exclusion. That is, for those who have neither a history of alcoholism nor lab results indicating a viral/ immune liver disease, there is a 90% chance that your symptoms indicate a fatty liver – odds reasonable enough to avoid biopsy.
What role might cytokines play?
Most patients with fatty liver are overweight. Patients with fatty liver have elevated levels of inflammation cytokines (CRP, IL-6, TNF). Patients with fatty liver often have diabetes or pre-diabetes (IRS), conditions also associated with abnormal cytokine production. Studies suggest the fat accumulation and the inflammation of the liver cell are related but independent abnormalities. Common cytokines may play a role in both, and nutrition may be the common mediator.
People with fatty liver tend to be more likely to suffer with metabolic syndrome (insulin resistant syndrome) and eventually become diabetic. They have a higher rate of hypertension and sleep apnea as well as elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
What results could I expect with MNT?
MNT is the first line of treatment for fatty liver, especially because of the Plan’s ability to help reduce your triglyceride levels. Patients using the Plan to improve laboratory tests of fatty liver usually by the end of Food Phase 8 of the 7 day Plan or Food Phase 4 of the 14 day Plan. Your physician should perform liver function tests (SGOT, SGPT, and alkaline phosphatase blood tests) every 12 weeks when using the Plan.
How can I measure symptom change on the plan?
Improvement in fatty liver enzyme results must be measured by your physician. Measurement should be considered every 12 weeks until your lab results indicate that the maximum response has been achieved.