Sunday, April 7, 2019

How to Heal a Fatty Liver with Keto

Can the Ketogenic Diet Heal a Fatty Liver (NAFLD)?

The key to healing a fatty liver is to reduce lipogenesis in the liver.  The conversion of sugar into fat is called lipogenesis.  It occurs when excess fructose is introduced into the liver. Drastically lowering fructose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and other simple carbohydrates have shown to reduce the build-up of fat in the liver, (hepatic fat accumulation). The Ketogenic Diet's foundation is low carbohydrate, moderate protein, and high fat. The Keto Diet, therefore, reduces lipogenesis and could improve fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

This study on Pubmed confirms it. What's also interesting about this data is the suggestion that the impairment to the gut microbiome and associated endotoxemia also contributes to the risk of NAFLD. So besides reducing simple sugars, repairing and improving digestion will improve a fatty liver. This article focuses on improving Keto Digestion and repairing the gut microbiome.

It is estimated that 31% of the US population has a fatty liver. Prolonged and excessive accumulation of fat into the liver (NAFLD) can further develop into what is known as NASH (Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis). NASH can further result in scarring of the liver (fibrosis), cirrhosis and chronic liver disease and finally liver failure and death. Scarring of the liver (fibrosis) can also result in the liver becoming more susceptible to developing liver cancer.

NASH is directly linked to the epidemics of metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, obesity, pre-diabetes, and diabetes.

The science just keeps mounting that the ketogenic diet can improve fatty liver disease. In almost all cases Keto reduces triglyceride levels in the body. This study shows after 24 weeks on the ketogenic diet the average triglycerides levels went down from 275 to 100. Furthermore, this study makes the case that excessive accumulation of triglycerides (TG) in the liver is a significant risk factor for developing cirrhosis of the liver.

This study even refers to fatty liver disease as diabetes of the liver.

How to Heal a Fatty Liver Video:

The Amazing Ketogenic Liver

The liver weighs about 3 pounds and performs about 500 vital functions in the body. The liver and gall bladder produce bile acids which help you break down fat. The liver also has the amazing ability to perform gluconeogenesis. The process of gluconeogenesis is the ability to convert amino acids and fat into glucose. It's the reason we can go on extended fasts without developing low blood sugar. The liver can just make the glucose it needs without any ingested carbohydrates. Efficient bile acid and glucose (gluconeogenesis) production are extremely important to someone on a high-fat/low-carb ketogenic diet.

Fatty Liver Disease: The Silent Killer

There usually are no symptoms associated with fatty liver disease. Many people go years with the condition and only discover it during routine blood work during a physical. Word of advice, if you are unsure see your doctor and ask for a blood liver function test.  Ask your doctor to go over the results with you and ask for a copy to keep for your records.

So you Have a Fatty Liver Now What?

Your doctor will likely start to perform tests on you. There is no definite "single test" that will absolutely confirm a fatty liver. He will first test you for hepatitis and when that is negative will order an MRI or CT scan and a liver biopsy. But if you are pre-diabetic, type 2 diabetic or even if you are overweight (overfat) there is a strong possibility you have excessive fat accumulation in your liver.

No Pill or Drug Can Help You With a Fatty Liver.

Much like type 2 diabetes, there isn't really a drug that can heal fatty liver disease. Your cells have become resistant to insulin and the glucose/fructose are not being used as energy properly (muscle/liver glycogen). Since glucose/fructose can't be stored, some is excreted out through your kidneys (frequent urination) and the rest is converted into fat through lipogenesis. Your body is storing the excess energy as fat for use at a later time. 

Fat is stored in your body's fat cells. The liver also stores fat when liver glycogen becomes full and never emptied. When you eat a low carbohydrate diet, fast or conduct prolong exercise your body pulls energy from the liver as liver glycogen. The average American eats way too many carbohydrates, never fasts and/or never conducts prolonged exercise so the liver never gets emptied of liver glycogen. So the liver, through lipogenesis, converts the muscle sugar (glycogen) to fat and stores that fat in itself. Hence, fatty liver.

The keto Diet is also a fatty Liver Diet!

Here's the good news. When you start the ketogenic diet and deplete your glycogen levels, among the first place it (fat) is drawn from is your liver. Just as your liver gets fat before the rest of your body, the liver gets lean before the rest of your body. Depending on your fat levels, insulin resistance and the strictness of your ketogenic diet, the liver can begin to heal within 3-12 months. 

Matcha Green Tea

Slow and Steady Wins the Race.

The liver is unique in that it can heal, repair and regenerate itself. However, there is evidence that if you lose the fat to quickly it can shock your liver and actually increase the liver's stress levels. In the beginning, especially if you lose the fat too quickly you could even see an increase in the liver enzyme stress markers. Especially the Bilirubin levels, sometimes bilirubin doesn't go down right away. The ideal situation is you lose the fat out of the liver slowly as it has a chance to heal itself. Look for an average of 5-10 pounds a month. The Ketogenic Diet will help but ease into it slowly.

Fasting Can Cleanse the Liver and Reverse Fatty Liver Disease.

This technique makes total sense. Fasting lowers insulin and stimulates fat burning. When you conduct intermittent fasting the body draws the stored energy out of the liver to use as fuel. With nothing coming into the body, the liver has less detoxification work to do and can focus on healing itself. An extended fast of more than 36 hours can also invoke autophagy. It (autophagy) can speed up the liver's ability to regenerate because Autophagy is the process where the body devours damaged or redundant cellular components.

Put Fewer Toxins Into Your Body to Heal a Fatty Liver:

Eliminate the toxins that are entering the body. The liver is the master detoxifier so the less poison you are putting into your body the more it will ease the burden of your liver. Here is a list of toxins to avoid:

  • Eliminate hidden sugars
  • Weed killer (herbicides)
  • Bug spray (pesticides)
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen)
  • Heavy metals (drink filtered water)
  • Seed oils (Bad fats)
  • Alcohol
  • Statins
  • Antibiotics
  • Plastics (biphenyls)- use glass containers
  • Solvents (carbon tetrachloride/vinyl chloride)
  • Anti-bacterial soaps (Triclosan)
  • Sodium hydroxide (lye)-oven cleaner
  • Household cleaners (ammonia, bleach)
  • Carpet shampoo (Perchloroethylene)

Take care of your teeth and gums to heal your liver.


There are some alarming studies that show a link between gum disease and liver disease. You can read the study here.  The exact mechanism is unclear, but it appears that periodontal bacteria, such as A. actinomycetemcomitans and P. gingivalis, circulating in the blood causes inflammation in the liver and disrupts the beneficial bacteria in our gut.

Here are some things that can help your liver function:

Liver cleansers
Antioxidants help your liver repair itself by eliminating free radicals. Polyphenols, caffeine also help mobilize free fatty acids for fat oxidation. NAC is a precursor to glutathione which is the master anti-oxidant. B-complex vitamins assist the liver detoxification process.

This study shows that Co-Enzyme  Q10 improves the AST liver stress tests (10) and reduces inflammation.

  • C0-Enzyme Q10
  • NAC- N-acetyl cysteine
  • Choline
  • Free range, pasture fed, organic eggs
  • Green Tea (matcha)
  • Brocolli sprouts
  • Taurine
  • Berberine (herb)
  • Vitamin E
  • Astaxanthin


  • Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil)
  • Coffee
  • Milk thistle (silymarin)
  • Lemon and lime juice
  • Tumeric
  • Grapefruit
  • Artichoke leaf
  • Dandelion greens
  • Flaxseed meal (organic)
  • Inulin and chicory root
  • Distilled water and activated charcoal

Charcoal capsules

  • Branch chain amino acids (BCAAs)
  • Methionine
  • S-adenosylmethionine
  • Metformin (prescription only)
  • Apple cider Vinegar
  • Betaine
  • Increasing intestinal bacterial diversity (gut biome)
  • Fermented Beet Kvass

How to Make Beet Kvass Video:

In summary, a fatty liver can be reversed with knowledge and discipline. Reducing sugar intake, lowering carbohydrates, exercising, removing the toxins entering your body and ingesting the correct ratio of healthy foods and supplements will greatly increase the odds that you will have a lifelong happy liver.

Getting Started on a Ketogenic Diet (video)

Good luck and if you have any question feel free to contact me.

Robert N. Bryant

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