Fatty Liver (cont.)
Bhupinder Anand, MD
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NAFLD has been associated in human or animal studies with reduced amounts of unsaturated fats (a diet high in saturated fat) and increased amounts of fructose (which is most commonly added to the diet as high-fructose corn syrup). Benefits of increasing unsaturated fat (a diet lower in saturated fat, and higher unsaturated fat) and reducing high fructose corn syrup on NAFLD have not been demonstrated; however, there is little harm in doing so, especially since there may be benefits of these dietary modifications unrelated to the liver.
An interesting observation - though unexplained - is that there is less scarring (fibrosis) in the livers of patients with NASH who drink more than two cups of coffee per day. (Scarring or fibrosis is the process that ultimately leads to cirrhosis.) Similar benefits of coffee have been associated with lesser degrees of liver disease in both alcoholic cirrhosis and hepatitis C. It is not unreasonable to recommend drinking coffee in moderate amounts in view of the lack of harmful side effects.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with NAFLD. Although there is no reason to think that this deficiency contributes to NAFLD, it is reasonable to measure vitamin D levels in patients with NAFLD and treat them with vitamin D if they are deficient.
There is no evidence of harmful effects of light alcohol consumption (two or fewer drinks per day) on NAFLD though there also is no evidence that it is safe! Larger amounts of alcohol consumption should be avoided by everyone, including individuals with NAFLD.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/9/2014
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