Alcoholic Fatty Liver – Causes and Prevention

Are you interested in learning more about alcoholic fatty liver, such as what causes it and whether or not it can be reversed?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ALD, or Alcoholic Liver Disease, you might benefit from information about this condition. Sadly, this is a fairly common disease and is a result of consuming excessive amounts of alcohol.

The Cause

Alcoholic fatty liver usually occurs after prolonged and excessive use of alcohol. The longer someone drinks and the higher the quantities of alcoholic beverages consumed, the more likely they are to develop this condition.

Alcohol causes inflammation and swelling in your liver. Over a period of time, if this abuse continues, the liver becomes scarred and you have cirrhosis of the liver, which is the final phase of alcoholic liver disease.

Alcoholic Fatty LiverThere are a number of fallacies and misapprehensions about this disease. Here are a few:

  • You have to drink a lot for a long time to get it.Wrong. You can develop it by binge drinking an excessive amount of alcohol on just one occasion. This is called Acute Alcoholic Hepatitis and may be fatal.
  • All heavy drinkers develop this disease.Wrong. Some people who drink heavily never develop liver problems.
  • You have to get falling down drunk when you drink to develop cirrhosis.Wrong. You don’t have to be intoxicated to damage your liver with alcohol.
  • Men are more likely to develop this disease than women.Wrong, at least in the sense that women who drink too much are actually more susceptible to it than men who drink too much.
  • You only get the disease if you drink alcohol.Wrong. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a wide-spread condition with similar characteristics, and can lead to cirrhosis as well.

Can ALD be Reversed?

Some homeopathic practitioners believe that it is possible to reverse the symptoms of alcoholic fatty liver by the use of liver cleanses, diet and lifestyle changes.

It is important to note that in order to halt or possibly reverse this condition, you need to cut out ALL alcoholic beverages – for life. If cirrhosis has not already developed, your liver can heal if you don’t drink any more alcohol.

Support Groups for People with ALD

There are quite a few great support groups for those with alcoholic fatty liver. AA, or Alcoholics Anonymous, is the best known with a very good reputation. There is also Al-Anon/Alateen, American Liver Foundation Support Group, Alcohol Abuse Support Group and more.

If you have alcoholic fatty liver, joining a local support group and even an online support group where you can connect and interact with others who share your problem can be immensely helpful.

A burden shared is a burden made lighter, and having the advice and encouragement from a group could benefit you and make it easier to not drink, as well as helping you with dietary ideas and other lifestyle advice for those who have Alcoholic Liver Disease and want to halt its progress.

Remember, it is possible to stop this disease in its tracks, before scarring occurs and it progresses to cirrhosis, and let the liver heal itself. So, start today to turn alcoholic fatty liver disease around and reclaim your health!

  • Aks says:

    Hello Sir,
    I have been drinking occasionally alchohol mostly average once in a month or even more gap in limit around 2 pegs or if beer than 2 beer bottle.

    Before 6 months I did sgpt report where it was 72.87. My physician told it’s ok to have such

    Between this 6 months i drinnked one or two peg whiskey continuously for 7-8 days than break for 1 month and again after some months continuously 7-8 days, beer this time that too 2 beers daily for 7-8 days.

    Now before 8-10 days I had pain in right side below rib cage and I did sgpt report which came 70.05( before 6 months it was 72.87). I visited gastroenterologist he said to stop alcohol as I had fatty liver.

    Kindly advice me further

    • Greg says:

      It is not always necessary to stop alcohol when diagnosed with NAFLD. It depends upon your exact circumstances, other issues with your body’s health and so on. Your doctor knows best, provided you’ve selected a quality doctor. Have you stopped the alcohol and how is your pain? My advice is always the same for abdominal pain. NEVER IGNORE IT. EVER. If it continues see your doctor or go to the ER or urgent care.

  • Ankit says:

    I am 47 years old ,and i am suffering from fatty liver since a year i had went to too many doctors for a better treatment,almost everyone has given me different medicines,bt i didn’t got any relief neither my liver working well,please suggest me better diet and even better doses….
    coz i m taking medicines(pentoxifillin,metadoxine,udiliv&aldectone) since 5 months bt i m nt getting gud result till now,plzzz help me out oof this…..

    • Greg says:

      Hi there. Have you downloaded our free ebook? It has lots of diet tips since that’s specifically what you’re asking about. If you don’t want to do that at this time, start with the very basics: protein, vegetables, and fruit. If you can tolerate dairy, also consume it (yogurt is great). Some recent research suggests even small amounts of alcohol can negatively affect an NAFLD condition (this is interesting, article to follow) so eliminate alcohol for the time being. If your medicines aren’t working, let your doctor know! There could be an alternative medication OR there might be an additional/underlying condition. Please speak to your doctor ASAP if you’re still not feeling well.

  • Aamir minhas says:

    I am a 42 years male, i was feeling pain right after taking meal specially dinner. On consultation with doctor, after ultrosound i have been informed that i have fatty liver. My drinking habbit is usually 150ml to 200 ml but not daily. Usually intrvals of one or two days a week. I am a smoker too. Doctor suggested vitamins and ask me to stop alcohol. But after months regularly taking medicine, i again feel pain at my right side upper area. This pain only stopped when i take a single pag or two. I need advise in this regard. Plz.

    • Greg says:

      You say you continue to have pain – are you still non-smoking and not drinking? Pain in the area could be related to your NAFLD condition even if it’s improving, but there’s no way to say for sure unless you go back to your doctor. Please don’t wait – call your doctor and ask her to check further into this.

  • Stephen says:

    Hi Greg

    I’ve recently had mild pain in my right side under my rib cage, also I’ve been feeling mildly itchy all over, I drink most days 1 maybe 2 beers or a glass of wine, and sometimes more on the weekends, I had bloods done 6 months ago and all was ok, does thus sound like a case of fatty liver to you,

    Thanks for your opinion

    • Greg says:

      Hi Stephen. It is very hard for me to say whether it is NAFLD since I am not a physician, and am not there with you to observe regardless, but itching as you described can involve the liver, depending upon the cause. However, it could have other causes as well. Glad your bloods were fine but you’re still symptomatic so what does your doctor have to say about that? Don’t suffer, let your doctor know there is still a problem. Let us know how it turns out.

  • Tommye simmons says:

    My son has alcohol fatty liver disease and they told him to stop drinking it will heal itself, I’ve read in these different messages about others this is so sad that something like this can take complete control of a person life (alcohol). My son is an alcoholic and he told me fatty liver disease and I had to Google this never heard of it and he’s in so much pain they gave him Tylenol 3 with codeine and it don’t even touch the pain, he’s been the hospital about 4x’s with pancreatitis problems, what can I do to stop the pain, he wants me to help him I don’t know what to do other than try to get him in the aa classes and be his support system I will go with him if I have to. Do apple cider stop the pain and if so how much. Begging for help this is my One and only child plz help me he’s crying for help.

    • Greg says:

      Tommye, is your son in therapy for his alcoholism? I feel for you and for your son. He has a tough row to hoe but he has you with him and that is really the most you can do, he unfortunately needs to do the hard work himself. Be there, be willing to take him to counseling appointments, AA, etc. if he asks…sit with him and be with him, your presence means so much to him I’m sure. Good luck going forward and thank you for sharing your story with us.

  • Sandhu says:

    i am 34 years old and a heavy alcohol drinker approx. 500 ml whisky per day regularly. i have done my liver function test last month and my SGOT was 121 and SGPT 151 and doctor advise me to stop alcohol completely, but i am still consuming alcohol but less quantity and with some dry gaps. will this help my liver to cover. or what is the best options to re-cover liver without stopping alcohol completely.
    please advise

    • Greg says:

      Unfortunately I am not a doctor – just a fellow who healed his issues and wants to share that with other people. I didn’t drink at the time and I rarely drink now (just my preference). I honestly would go with what your doctor is advising. Good luck and good health to you.

  • Tesr says:

    Hi my father has been diagnosed with fatty liver grade 2 (166mm size). he is 70 years old. He drinks alcohol everyday, at least 6-8 pegs of whiskey. He stars drinking at 7 in the evening and drinks till 9:30 pm. We are sure that fatty liver is due to ALD although we haven’t confirmed from doctor yet. he is ready to follow a balanced diet but he isn’t at all ready to quit alcohol. He also has high blood pressure (160/90), and is diabetic (125/170). Is there anyway to cure this problem without him quitting alcohol.

    • Greg says:

      It’s tough to try to “make” an adult do anything he doesn’t want to do, so see what the doctor has to say, and then allow the doctor to give this information to your father, as well as information on what to do from here. He has additional complications (the high BP and diabetes) that all need to be managed carefully by his doctor. I think the doctor will likely tell him he should quit the alcohol, yes. Wishing the best for your dad.

  • sasi says:

    My son is suffering from fatty liver and dr advised tostop drinking let me know the diet.

    • Greg says:

      Yes, stop drinking, and the pages in my site will help you formulate a diet and lifestyle plan. Start at Step 1, the first page near the top right side of the website.

  • Trudy says:

    I am a 51 year old female 5’6″ and weigh 160. I have been having problems with pain after eating which starts below my rib cage on my right side and radiates to just under my xiphoid process and feels like a constant cramp which is so painful I am usually in the floor. I have researched it and thought it to be my gallbladder but the HIDI scan, upper GI and ultrasound of my gallbladder were completely normal….but while having the ultrasound they found I have a fatty liver.
    My AST – SGOT is 51 – normal is 0 – 40
    My ALT – SGPT is 68 – normal is 0 – 32
    My Ferrin is 177 – normal is 15 -150

    My father died of liver cancer and had hematchromtosis and cirrhois which lead to a cancerous liver tumor.

    I am a nurse and realize a woman is somewhat protected from hematchromtosis while still menstruating which I stopped about 8 months ago and I feel this is why my ferrin level has gone up. The doctor didn’t seemed to be concerned about these levels and said to give blood a little more often than normal.

    I have only been drinking for about 5 years and drink white wine 2 to 3 glasses a day. I have switched over to red wine since all this has happened.

    Also I found that apple cider vinegar helps with the attacks in my abdomen which they are still not sure what this is from.

    Do you have any ideas maybe what could be causing the abdomal attacks and how do you know which fatty liver disease you have? ALD or NAFLD? Can this be determined by a liver biopsy?

    Thank you for reading my story.

    • Greg says:

      Hi Trudy,

      ALD and NAFLD have the same physical results, so it really doesn’t matter (from a health standpoint) which type you have. The result is an enlarged liver with too much fat between cells, which is hampering the functioning of your liver. Because it is enlarged, it’s pressing into your surrounding tissue and causing the pain.

      To be safe, I would completely cut out your wine drinking, as the alcohol in it is stressing your liver, which has to work harder to filter it out of your body. Not sure about the apple cider vinegar, but it’s not harmful. The good news is that the liver does have an amazing ability to heal itself – just don’t stress it out with excess body fat, alcohol and greasy, fatty foods.

  • Harry says:

    Hello sir my name is harry .. I m 21 year old … I have fatty liver … But i dont drink too much … I drink like 4-5 days in month (3-4 beers one time) …… Today i done fibro scan and my elasticity measurement is 11.7…. And SGOT AND SGPT is 126 and 258 respectively… Tell me what can i do

    • Greg says:

      Your numbers are high, but it doesn’t necessarily mean your liver is damaged. There could have been some other infection causing it too, and people with numbers much higher (ie due to hepatitis) still have a full recovery.

      Unfortunately, you’ll have to cut out all alcohol, as this causes lots of stress to your liver. You’ll have to turn your lifestyle around and do and eat things that help your body and your liver – drink water, fruit juices and tea (coffee is good too, but if you don’t drink it, don’t start). Avoid greasy, fatty foods and eat more fruits and vegetables and lean meat. Try smoothies in the morning – my favorite is spinach, blueberries, banana and flax seeds, and half water. Mix in a blender. Read my site for more diet and exercise ideas.

  • bilal haider says:

    hello i am bilal my age is 33 y my height is 6.70 feet and my weight is 110 kg and yesterday after ultrasound my doctor told me that i have fatty liver due to alcohol .my doctor is right cuz i am having drinks from 15 years and moistly 4 ,5 days a week and in one sitting i am using 500 ml and my SGPT is 127 and last year in July i was 445 .kindly suggest me some treatment cuz my doctor is good but i need more suggestion and treatment .he give me vitamin B complex ,vitamin E and pentaparzole for 1 month and advice me to stop drinking and start exercise.
    with best regards

    • Greg says:

      Yes, you have to stop drinking alcohol. It is a poison, which is why we get intoxicated after drinking it. Your liver has been overworked and is now not functioning well. It can repair itself to some extent, if you stop drinking now and eat a balanced diet – so, lots of water, vegetables, fruits, and lean meats like chicken and turkey. Avoid greasy food, fast food, too much salt and red meat. These all put more stress on your liver.

  • Brett says:

    Hey Greg, I wanted to ask you a question. I have elevated enzymes and an ammonia level of 49. I have been told that I can still turn things around. I have drank for a long time and I am finally nearly done with tapering off the alcohol. I have had some side pain and headaches once in a blue but now I take lactulose every day. I’m only 31 and recently married. Can I really save this thing and have a life with my wonderful wife? I am down from 30 to 6 beers a day and will be done by next week. Please shoot me straight as no one has yet. I did have an e.r. Visit where they did a full work up but chose not to do a ct or ultrasound. Sorry this was so long, thanks though!

    • Greg says:

      6 beers a day? The unfortunate thing with drinking heavily in the past is that it catches up to you, but you obviously realize this. You’re going to have to completely stop, as it’s overtaxing your liver. The good thing is that your liver is incredibly resilient (it has to be, as it filters all the toxins from your body … and alcohol is a toxin, that’s why everybody gets the effects they do). Take good care of yourself, and focus on your health and your new companion.

      • steven says:

        Greg, you are aware that if he went cold turkey from 30 beers a day it probably would have killed him, right?

        • Greg says:

          From 30 to zero, that would definitely have been bad. But he had already reduced to 6 a day … still horribly high, but manageable. I certainly hope things went well.

    • IronMike Townsend says:

      Greg, I am 71 years old, hard cord vegetarian and extremely active Ironman triathlete and frequent marathoner. But I love beer. Did I mention love? Not many people of any age can do what I routinely do yet after sundown I really want my beer. What’s the harm since I’m doing everything else right? I even nap each day before working out. I feel great. Why not have 4-5 beers afterwards?

      • Greg says:

        Well, I’ll ask you the question in return: why not? πŸ™‚ I have the occasional beer. I don’t generally have four or five at a shot, but what is your current physical condition? Do you have a liver issue or do you have a clean bill of health?

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