When was the last time a doctor told you they wanted to test the health of your liver? Probably never.
But the fact is…between 25% and 50% of Americans are suffering from a silent disease that doesn’t make its presence known for decades – if ever.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the fasting growing health epidemics in the world.1
When I was in medical school, we were taught that liver disease was caused by heavy alcohol consumption. But as I learned in my practice years ago, this is no longer the case. In fact, alcohol contributes to only 6% of liver damage.
Weight gain contributes to 52% of liver disease.
And obesity increases the risk of developing liver damage by 330%.2
This fast-growing health epidemic is closely linked to what I call Syndrome Zero – the universal cause of all chronic diseases. Both conditions share common risk factors, including:
- Starchy, processed “carbage” that passes for food today
- Carbohydrates with a high glycemic index
- Drinks and snacks sweetened with fructose
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High triglycerides
- Insulin resistance/type 2 diabetes
But NAFLD has additional causes. These include an underactive thyroid, polycystic ovary syndrome – and some of Big Pharma’s own pills.
This phenomenon, known as drug-induced fatty liver disease, is caused by medications like corticosteroids, antidepressants, and autoimmune disease drugs like methotrexate and tamoxifen.
All of these toxins inflame your liver and lead to NAFLD. But it gets worse…
NAFLD can develop into an even more dangerous form of the disease called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
About 10% to 30% of NAFLD patients develop NASH, which can progress to hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver cancer, or liver failure.
Big Pharma has no effective drugs to treat fatty liver disease. Their latest suggestion is to treat NAFLD with a corticosteroid – the same drug that can cause the disease!
At the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine, I help my patients reverse fatty liver disease with nutrients that help eliminate liver inflammation. The latest research backs me up…
Simple vitamin combo reverses liver disease
A 2022 study published in the Journal of Hepatology found that vitamin B12 combined with folic acid can stop NASH in its tracks.3
The researchers discovered that liver damage is caused by the deterioration of a simple protein called syntaxin 17. This protein is responsible for transporting and digesting fat and supporting a healthy metabolism. Lacking this protein prevents autophagy or the removal of damaged and dead cells.
Vitamin B12 and folate work by increasing syntaxin 17 levels in the liver to reverse scarring and restore its functions.
According to the study’s lead author, this simple vitamin combination can “prevent and reverse fat accumulation, inflammation, and fibrosis (thickening of scar tissue which leads to cirrhosis)…”
I’ve been recommending B vitamins to my patients as a way to protect their hearts, brains, eyes, cells, and skin for decades. Now I can add liver protection to the list.
There are several ways to get more B12 and folate in your diet. Good food-based sources of B12 include grass-fed liver and beef, wild-caught fish, pastured eggs, cheese, and full-fat milk. To increase folate, include dark green leafy vegetables, peanuts, and seafood.
But you’ll also need to supplement. Today’s poor food quality makes it almost impossible to get what you need from food sources alone.
I tell my patients to supplement with the natural form of B-12 called methylcobalamin. I recommend 1,000 mcg daily in lozenge or liquid form. To ensure you’re getting the folate you need, supplement with 800 mcg of folic acid.
More protection for your liver
In addition to these two vitamin superstars, other key supplements are associated with calming liver inflammation and reversing fibrosis. They include:
- DHA. A recent animal study found this omega-3 fat can block the progression of fatty liver disease – even after the mice continued to eat a dangerous Western diet.4 I advise my patients to take at least 600 mg of DHA from a combination of squid oil and krill oil. And make sure you take it at meals so it can be digested properly.
- Tocotrienols. This form of vitamin E has been proven to reverse NAFLD. In one study, 50% of end-stage liver patients improved their condition by taking tocotrienols. Take 400 IU a day of a vitamin E supplement with “mixed tocotrienols.”
- CoQ10. This “heart supplement” has been proven to reverse signs of NAFLD in just 12 weeks.5 Take 100 to 300 mg per day in two doses.
- Curcumin. Turmeric (aka curcumin) is a pungent spice renowned throughout SE Asia for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties; therefore a likely effective aid for NAFLD. An eight-week controlled study conducted in 2019 with 64 participants confirmed that taking 2,000 mg of curcumin daily showed a significant reduction in liver enzymes and also serum levels of triglycerides, the type of fat most associated with fatty liver.6
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Mirza MS. “Obesity, Visceral Fat, and NAFLD: Querying the Role of Adipokines in the Progression of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.” ISRN Gastroenterol 2011; 2011: 592404.
2. Hagström H, et al. “ High BMI in late adolescence predicts future severe liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma: a national, population-based cohort study in 1.2 million men.” Gut. 2018;67(8):1536-1542.
3. Tripathi M, et al. “Vitamin B12 and folate decrease inflammation and fibrosis in NASH by preventing syntaxin 17 homocysteinylation.” J Hepatol. 2022 Jul 9;S0168-8278(22)02932-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2022.06.033.
4. Lytle K, et al. “Docosahexaenoic acid blocks progression of western diet-induced nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in obese Ldlr-/- mice.” PLoS One. 2017 Apr 19;12(4):e0173376.
5. Farsi F, et al. “Functions of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on liver enzymes, markers of systemic inflammation, and adipokines in patients affected by nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2016 May-Jun;35(4):346-53.
6. Jarhahzadeh M, et al. “The effect of turmeric on lipid profile, malondialdehyde, liver echogenicity and enzymes among patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.” Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2021 Oct 18;13(1):112.