Greg

Mar 202017
 

Lately, we’ve had a lot of questions regarding detoxing the body. Should you? If so, why? And how? Are detoxes just a waste of money and time? Worse, could they potentially harm you?

The fact of the matter is that if you have a healthy liver, you’re already “detoxing” all day long. In a basically healthy person, the liver is a workhorse and will continuously break down fats for energy and filter the body of items it doesn’t need.

On the other hand, if your goal is to heal a fatty liver condition, several issues may come into play. One is that, depending upon how long you’ve had NAFLD and what stage your condition is, the liver may already be more stressed than it should be. Another is the possibility of a weight issue, as a percentage of NAFLD patients are overweight.

For these reasons, you may be considering a healthful detox. If you’d like to give your body (including your healing liver) a break, a detox, if done correctly, can lighten the body’s load for several days and allow you to recharge, while getting nutrients into your body rather than the overprocessed, sugary, salty foods that are typical of the standard American diet.

Get Your Doctor’s Thumbs-Up

IMPORTANT: Before embarking on this or any other change in eating/drinking habits, even if temporarily, get your doctor’s okay.  We DO NOT recommend a nutritional detoxification program to ANYONE who has not been assessed by his/her physician for general health, specific health issues, consideration of a current medication regimen, and potential food allergies or intolerances.

We’re not saying that to cover ourselves, or because it’s the standard thing to say. We’re saying it because we mean it. Even nutrition should not be played around with if there’s the possibility of an extenuating health circumstance. Don’t skip this step – see your doctor. If she approves your plan (provide as many details as you can), then go ahead and proceed with the program.

Partial Rather Than Full Fast

Often, a full (water/juice only) fast is recommended by detox “gurus.” Again, even in a healthy body, this can be a shock. Since your aim is to give the body a rest from processed foods (and from a significant amount of solid food in general) and to not shock it, it may be better to start out with a partial fast.

A partial fast will generally involve water, juices made fresh from vegetables and a limited quantity of fruits if desired, teas (plain/herbal) if you like them, plus either one or both of the two golden foods: apples and carrots. These two foods have a wonderful variety of nutrients, can be juiced or eaten whole, provide fiber, and are for MOST people very hypo-reactive (you’re unlikely to have a negative reaction to them, if you conform to the general population).

Since you’re limiting solid/whole foods, don’t go crazy on these two foods. Have juice (make your own with a juicer – don’t buy it canned or bottled; don’t add anything to the juice unless, if you want, water) plus one to four apples a day and one to three carrots the first day. Then for the next two days, increase the solids by one piece of either food. Do not exceed three days for your fast unless directed by your physician.

Some people only “detox” for one day. See how you feel. If you’re dizzy/lightheaded, can’t concentrate at work, feel shaky, depressed, anxious or experience diarrhea, end your fast.

What Results Should You See?

It’s difficult to qualify and quantify exactly what results you can expect from a detox fast, since everyone fasts differently, is in a different condition of health and will fast for a different period of time.

However, you should see a temporary water weight drop of a few pounds, may experience relief from constipation or bloating, and if you’ve been unknowingly having reactions to certain foods, this issue could emerge too. (For instance, if you have an undiagnosed dairy intolerance, you may suddenly realize you’re not experiencing symptoms.)

If you experience relief from negative symptoms of unknown cause, jot the information down to tell your doctor about, then with your doctor’s approval, add one food group back in at a time to see if one is the culprit. The most common food allergies and intolerances involve wheat, dairy, nuts, soy, corn, fish and shellfish.

Ending the Detox

When reintroducing foods to your diet (besides the apples, carrots and fresh juices), go slowly. Eat small portions. After a restricted amount of food for one to three days, your stomach isn’t ready for a deluge of food. You may also want to start with blander, non-sensitizing foods, such as rice, broths, veggies and fruits. If you feel well and can tolerate them, add in grains and dairy (obviously provided you already have these in your diet and have no sensitivities to them).

Have a detox story to share with us? We’d love to hear your experiences with detoxing. Contact us and let us know how you detoxed and what results you experienced.

 

 

 Posted by at 9:29 pm
Mar 092017
 

Exciting news: based on prior successful research, scientists in Sweden are planning a new trial combining components expected to have a positive effect on Type II Diabetes and NAFLD.

Researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology’s Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) research center and Gothenburg University, Sweden, say they have isolated constituents that appear to help the body’s ability to burn fat. Results were published this February.

Mixing substances that showed the most potential in this arena, the researchers are planning a new trial to isolate the mechanism and measure results.

Dr. Adil Mardinoglu, lead author of the published study, said of the new research, “This mixture can potentially decrease the amount of the fat accumulated in the liver.”

The method, if successful, would be groundbreaking because “there is no such drug available at present,” Dr. Mardinoglu said, adding further clinical trials are slated for later in 2017.

A “Cocktail” of Fatty Liver-Busting Ingredients

Researchers have not yet revealed the exact ingredients that will be used, but described the prospective mixture as “a cocktail” that increases the oxidation of fat, as well as synthesis of the antioxidants.

Scientists hope the mixture will fight not only NAFLD but also Type II Diabetes, two conditions that are interrelated in a notable percentage of patients.

The prior, flagship study involved 86 patients.

Study co-author Dr. Ulf Smith, University of Gothenburg, noted, “Considering NAFLD and diabetes are common conditions that regularly co-exist and can act synergistically to drive adverse outcomes, such a mixture of substances might also be used in the treatment of subjects with diabetes.”

This means there could be hope for future patients experiencing a constellation of metabolic symptoms and the negative effects of each.

If successful, the treatment cocktail may have applications in other liver diseases as well, the study authors noted.

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 7:06 pm
Feb 282017
 

When I began my NAFLD-busting journey (as I affectionately – wait, is that aggressively? – like to call it), I quickly found that substitutions were the way to go in order to lose the weight I needed to lose while still feeling full.

I substituted low glycemic index veggies for potatoes or rice, poultry for red meat, vinegar and salt for heavy salad dressings…actually, it’s amazing how many substitutions you can find.

But I made a few mistakes along the way. And one mistake was “substitution” natural sugars.

A Bitter Truth

I had heard quite a bit of hype about agave nectar, and of course, there was always honey, a naturally (if kind of disgustingly) produced product.

I’m not crazy about honey, for some reason. But agave nectar sounded like the perfect table sugar substitute.  It comes from a cactus-like plant, the blue agave; the same one from which tequila is made, actually. First Nations people in the Americas called it “honey water” for obvious reasons: it’s a liquid, and it’s sweet.

Sweetness that comes directly from plants has to be healthy for you – certainly healthier than refined table sugar. Right?

Not so fast. Actually, plant-based sugars, usually fructose, could have just as much of an impact on your system as sugar from a Milky Way or from the bowl on your breakfast table. Here’s why fructose isn’t necessarily a healthy substitution when it comes to weight, weight loss, and NALFD.

Fructose v. Glucose

A very large part of the sugar in the average American’s diet comes from glucose (and glucose is what all foods are converted into in the system in order to be transported for use or for storage).

Sucrose, a refined form of sugar, comes from a combination of fructose and glucose.

But fructose alone, as, usually, fruit sugar (but also available from some other plants), is perhaps the most insidious form of sugar danger we consume in modern, first-world societies. Fruit was at one time a very minor part of the average diet. It was not available year-round except in certain areas; in those locales, supplementation with other foods was frequently also available as a temperate zone abundant in water came with not only growing plants but also the animals that came to feed on them and which humans traditionally hunted or used for milk.

Fructose today is available not only in fruits, which can be shipped globally and preserved with an astounding variety of methods, but is also used to sweeten some prepared foods and as noted above, is a component of sucrose, or table sugar.

And although the three sugars act slightly differently in the body, the result is generally the same – the body can only handle so much sugar, whether refined or “natural,” before it becomes not only overweight if an overabundance calorie-wise is consumed, but ultimately, ill.

Not Woo Science

The fact that fructose can negatively impact an NAFLD condition, or encourage one to develop, isn’t just the panic-button stuff of which “natural blogs” (not that we have anything against them) are made. Researchers agree that harmless as you might think it is, fruit sugar can in fact be bad for your liver.

Indeed, researchers at Harvard University agree that too much fructose can negatively affect not only your liver but your heart and arteries at well.

According to Harvard professionals, an excess of fructose:

  • elevates triglycerides
  • increases harmful LDL (so-called bad cholesterol)
  • promotes the buildup of fat around organs (visceral fat)
  • increases blood pressure
  • makes tissues insulin-resistant, a precursor to diabetes
  • increases the production of free radicals, energetic compounds that can damage DNA and cells

(The above information was obtained from this article.)

Emergency! (Or Not?)

With that said, there is an emphasis on the “too much” in those statements.

What is too much fructose, anyway?

According to experts, there’s no need to go running off in a panic throwing away all the apples in your crisper. However, you SHOULD be aware of how much sugar you’re eating in a day, including ingredients in prepared foods, added table sugar, and unrefined sugars such as honey, and fruit.

For the average man, no more than 37.5 grams of sugar (9 teaspoons) should be consumed daily; for women, no more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons).

Start reading labels, understand where sugar can be hiding in foods, and count ALL your sugar each day if you’re monitoring or attempting to combat an NAFLD condition, and especially if you’re trying to control your weight.

Your liver will thank you.

 Posted by at 9:47 pm
Feb 232017
 

It’s something few of us will want to hear: Scientists at the German Diabetes Center, Dusseldorf and Helhmoltz Center, Munich are making the claim that just one over-fat meal really can harm us.

According to a study published in February in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, research participants of a normal weight given a palm oil-laden drink equivalent in fat to a giant fast-food meal were slapped with reduced insulin (glucose clean-up) action and an increase in liver fat.

What makes the results so daunting is that they were immediate, following just one meal.

But is it time to panic yet – or worse, throw in the towel on your whole day (or week) because the damage has already been done?

Not so fast, say study critics, who point out that the results were short-term (immediate, in fact), did not prove a longer or more permanent degree of damage, were produced on slim people, and were specific to palm oil, which itself may or may not be a factor.

“Overeating” as Defined By The Study

The German scientists did not make a general claim as to what overeating or over-fat might men in general, but did give specifics as to what the study participants consumed.

The flavored drink’s negative health factor was based on total fat content, not on calories, and contained as much fat as two cheeseburgers plus French fries, or two meat-laden pizzas.

Because fat specifically was ingested, further research is needed to determine just how temporary the fat increase noted in the liver of each subject was.

The Insulin Resistance Factor

However, the other, and potentially more urgent, issue is how the respondents’ insulin response was impacted following the heavy drink. The participants were not noted to have insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome, but their insulin action was impacted nevertheless.

For a healthy individual – particularly if such a large intake of fat and/or calories were only occasional – this might not have a negative overall health impact. But for individuals suffering from NAFLD, or for people who are overweight but do not have an NAFLD diagnosis, reduced insulin activity and an increased period of time of glucose in the blood, could be a larger problem, both immediately and over time.

This means for either slim or overweight people of any health status, that one giant cheeseburger meal could eventually add up.

Should You or Shouldn’t You? How Cheating Impacts Your Diet

One’s diet is a personal thing. If you’re on a fat/weight reduction diet specifically, then it’s all the more personal. In other words, what works for you may work for the next person – but it might not.

But one thing is nearly universal: when we allow ourselves what we determine to be a small cheat, a certain percentage of us (and not a small one, either) will increase it in increments until, potentially, there’s a problem.

This means if you decide upon one cheat meal per week, the meal may over time get bigger; you may figure if once “didn’t hurt,” twice won’t either; or you may be triggered either physically or emotionally by your “cheat” and end up going off the rails for the entire day, or longer.

If you know any of the above describe you, it may be best to stay away from planned cheats and work around potentially bad food choice situations, such as going away on vacation or a business trip or realizing you’ve forgotten your lunch at home. Scope out healthier choices in the area or ask chefs or fast food restaurants to modify your meal (no chips or fries, lettuce-wrapped rather than a bun, grilled chicken v. the burger or breaded chicken, etc.).

Whether you have an NAFLD condition or are looking to keep one from occurring, your take-home from the study should be that we really don’t know yet what even one negative food choice will do, but there’s no need to panic, either. Instead, make good food choices whenever and wherever you can, and beware of slippery slopes such as that “just once won’t hurt” super-size meal that could super size itself in ways you hadn’t even considered.

 

 Posted by at 7:52 pm
Feb 152017
 

Image: thetimesinplainenglish.com

If you’ve been diagnosed with NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), it’s likely your doctor has recommended diet and lifestyle changes along with watchful waiting and follow-up tests in a certain amount of weeks or months.

This is especially true if you are in the beginning stages of NAFLD, which are more easily managed via weight loss and exercise and do not generally require medication.

But the reality is that often, other conditions do exist along with NAFLD. Generally, these run along the lines of insulin and/or weight issues. When a condition – for example, metabolic syndrome/insulin resistance, or developing diabetes – is discovered along with NAFLD, even if that condition is mild, more and more doctors are seeking treatments for the concurrent issue in order to hopefully alleviate or at least stall the progression of NAFLD.

But could the treatment hurt more than the cure, as the old saying goes? Here is, currently, one of the most commonly prescribed medications off-label to help treat NAFLD, and the side effects that may accompany it. (Please note that we neither endorse nor seek to discredit this particular medication: the commentary below is for illustration purposes only. The following information is not inclusive. Please speak to your doctor directly for facts on taking Metformin and potential benefits or side effects.)

Metformin

Metformin (most common marketing name: Glucophage) is one of the most frequently prescribed pharmaceutical treatments for Type II diabetes, a condition found in in a percentage of NAFLD patients.

A statistically significant number of Type II diabetes patients are also overweight (as are a percentage of NAFLD patients). There is some evidence that this medication may help stabilize weight or even be accompanied by weight loss, and though this is not a claim made by doctors or the producer of Metformin in an official way (correlation/causation has not been established), observation of the apparent phenomenon is one reason physicians may be willing to attempt this line of treatment off-label for NAFLD sufferers.

Metformin has a very positive history of helping Type II diabetic individuals and women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), but is contraindicated (recommended against) in cases of kidney disease, lung disease, and severe liver disease. (Stage I NAFLD is not generally considered, by itself, to be a severe form of liver disease but rather, a preliminary one.) If your doctor is suggesting Metformin, don’t discount it, but do be aware of the risk of side effects.

These may include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhea
  • loss of appetite
  • a metallic taste in the mouth

These are generally not life-threatening effects, but can be uncomfortable, can impact one’s quality of life if they are frequent, and may result in a degree of damage if they persist. Also, if you are underweight or have absorption issues, a loss of appetite and diarrhea could make these issues worse. Tell your doctor if you experience any of the above.

Very rare side effects of Metformin may include:

  • Elevated levels of lactic acid in the blood (lactic acidosis)
  • Decreased absorption of vitamin B12 during long-term use
  • Skin reactions such as rash, itching or flushing

The first two will only be detectable by symptoms and medical testing; for any skin reaction, IMMEDIATELY contact your physician or go to the nearest emergency room or Urgent Care. You may  be experiencing an allergic reaction to the medication.

Is Metformin “The Bad Guy”?

First, the above information is not intended to refute any advice or instruction given by your physician. If you are under the care of your doctor, DO NOT stop any current medication, alter the amount or timing of your medications, or begin any medicine, including over-the-counter preparations, without consulting your doctor first.

In many cases and for many patients, Metformin can be beneficial for their Type II diabetes condition. So we’re not advising you to skip this or another medication which could, even if indirectly, help you to get healthier.

Rather, the above illustration is made to point out that a drug is a drug is a drug, as the saying goes (in a slightly modified way for our purposes here), and both sides of the coin should be considered before deciding upon any pharmaceutical or surgical course of treatment.

Whatever treatment you and your physician choose, make sure to implement all lifestyle changes your doctor recommends. In the final analysis, to date, only a reduction of overall bodyfat has been directly implicated in improving NAFLD in a statistical portion of sufferers. Once you have that in place, follow your doctor’s instructions and be sure to ask questions, report any side effects, and follow up with all testing in a timely fashion so you can make the most of your treatment – and your health.

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 10:41 pm
Jan 202017
 

A peer-reviewed study published in the journal “Nature” says glyphosate-based herbicides, such as the weed killer Roundup, was NAFLD-promoting in laboratory mice.

Blood and urine were measured for the chemical and for negative health changes. The conclusion of the study researchers was that it appears glyphosate may either induce NAFLD or make an already-developing NAFLD condition worse.

Natural movement followers and environmentally conscious individuals across the globe have long been protesting various methods and ingredients utilized by industry giant Monsanto. Targeting Roundup may be just one more arrow aimed at the empire, though studies such as this one appear to prove there’s evidence to give a health-conscious consumer pause.

And though many ingredients could show harm or toxicity in extreme amounts per total body weight, according to this study, the dose of glyphosate was “ultra-low” given the total size of each mouse.

Should You Worry?

There are many reasons to be wary of commercial pesticides. Specifically, it goes without saying that anything designed to kill – even if only small animals – has the potential to do harm to a larger creature, such as a human, particularly with repeated and/or large-scale exposure.

Most of us would do well to limit the amount of chemical products we are exposed to, and this or any study should be taken in a larger context and viewed in a cost/benefit view healthwise before utilizing the identified ingredient.

However, if you’re already struggling with an NAFLD condition, it only makes sense to limit your utilization of products and ingredients that have been proven to aggravate the condition.

 

Finding Alternatives

If you grow your own plants – particularly edible materials – you will want to be conscious of what kind of soil you use (and what went into it in the processing, if you did not produce your own compost); where you get your seeds from; and what you add to the plants and the soil during the growing process.

Alternatives to garden pests exist in various ways, including entirely non-environmentally harmful (using masking tape to trap aphids, for example). Some, though not all, are as simple as mixing a few ingredients into a spray bottle; others are a bit more complex, but may be worth the work for the exchange of good health.

We don’t endorse any one natural-living blog (or for that matter, any one lifestyle and choices for what to keep around the home), but as a starting-off point, we uncovered this article a blog that has a solid readership. Because we can not personally vouch for the validity of the methods in the article, we suggest you use this or another, similar article (Google or Bing for a list) as a starting point toward uncovering natural ways to rid your garden and home of pests. Then do your own homework and try out the various methods until you find the one, or ones, that work best for you.

Any step toward a healthier liver is a good starting point. Reducing or eliminating known liver offenders can offer you better health and a more comfortable future, so start with small changes and see what makes you feel better. As always, do plenty of research before making significant lifestyle changes and when in doubt whether or not to utilize any particular ingredient or product given your own health status, ask your physician.

 

 

 Posted by at 9:19 pm
Jan 102017
 

Constituents found in soil, in fruits such as kiwi and, fascinatingly, in breast milk may have protective qualities against inflammation of the liver and the future development and progression of NAFLD, according to a new study.

The paper, “Early PQQ Supplementation Has Persistent Long-Term Protective Effects on Developmental Programming of Hepatic Lipotoxicity and Inflammation in Obese Mice,” was published in the December 2016 issue of the FAEBS Journal, outlined how the effect occurred when studying pregnant lab animals and could offer a new avenue for fighting NAFLD.

According to the University of Colorado research team that conducted the study, enzymes are the key to the phenomenon that could have medical applications in the near future.

Studying Mice for Clues

Per the parameters of the study, obese pregnant and lactating mice were fed pyrroloquinoline quinone, or PQQ, an antioxidant found in kiwi fruit and other sources. Their offspring were later found to have a reduced instance of certain key markers NAFLD as measured quantifiably.

In preparation for the method and the collection of its results, pregnant, obese mice were fed a “Western-like” diet that resulted in a higher chance of NAFLD by early adulthood. PPQ was then fed to the animals via their drinking water.

“The goal of our study, which we carried out using a mouse model of obese pregnancy, was to determine whether a novel antioxidant given to mothers during pregnancy and breastfeeding could prevent the development of NAFLD in the offspring,” stated Karen Jonscher, PhD, lead author of the study.

Results Offer Future Possibilities

When data was collected, the researchers found that several indices in NAFLD, including hepatic ceramide levels, oxidative stress and expression of three proinflammatory genes, were lower in the PPQ-fed mice.

This means it may actually be possible to lower the possibility of future NAFLD via prenantal supplementation, though no suggestions on this exact method or dosage in any animal, including humans, has yet been determined.

If applicable to human beings, this could be a new avenue for fighting the possibility of NAFLD and for future treatment in various ways.

“We know that infants born to mothers with obesity have a greater chance of developing NAFLD over their lifetime,” Dr. Jonscher commented. “…in fact, one-third of obese children under 18 may have undiagnosed fatty liver disease that, when discovered, is more likely to be advanced at the time of diagnosis.”

Protected infant mice showed resistance to this typical progression via the decreased levels of key NAFLD factors.

Read the abstract of the study here.

 

 

 Posted by at 11:14 pm
Dec 282016
 

We talk about weight and weight loss quite a bit on this blog, and there’s a reason. Although there IS a faction of  healthy BMI individuals who have been or will be diagnosed with NAFLD, statistically, overweight individuals are more likely to have the condition.

For that reason, many of our readers are overweight/overfat and looking to reduce fat in their bodies, in an effort to also reduce the fat percentage in the liver. (Greater than 5% is considered a fatty liver condition; if unrelated to alcohol consumption, the diagnosis is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD.)

But is all fat bad – even in the overweight individual?

Actually, there are two basic types of fat, usually generalized to the terms “brown” and “white” fat. Here’s the skinny on the different types of fat and whether you want them, want to reduce them, and how each impacts your health.

Brown Fat: Yes, You Need It

If you’ve heard of “brown fat,” that’s because in recent decades, it’s made the news – though not always in a clear and understandable way. What is brown fat? Should we like it or lump it?

Interestingly, brown fat is not only essential (particularly along the brain), it may, according to recent research, help combat less-healthy, excess white fat.

The reason: brown fat burns glucose (yes, really) and appears to help counter issues such as systemic inflammation.

By contrast, the reason white fat is white is because of lipids, something we all need but in controlled amounts; too much white fat and an unhealthy overall condition begins to exist that goes deeper than simple vanity and a thickening middle.

Brown fat was previously believed to exist only in infants (and certain small mammals). But as of 2009, brown fat is acknowledged as being present in human adults as well.

New Research Yields a World of Health Possibilities

Boston University biochemists say that mice grew more brown or “brown-like” fat under certain laboratory conditions using various methods. This most recent attempt revealed that the use of a chemotherapy drug, Roscovitine, showed the most promise to date.

The drug encouraged the growth of brown fat within existing white fat and also appeared to increase the mice’s metabolism and energy expenditure.

This is groundbreaking information that has the potential for use in humans, researchers suggest.

Three Types of Brown Fat

The research also separated brown fat into three categories as opposed to simply referring to the type of fat as “brown fat.”

Each arises from a separate pathway. They are categorized as classic brown, beige and brite.

All this new information means scientists could be on the verge of a new breakthrough in treating obesity and over-fat conditions, but more research is needed, critics of the study say.

“This is a provocative study, which really illustrates that brown and beige fat are druggable targets in a meaningful physiological way,” said Bruce Spiegelmann, professor of cancer biology, Harvard Medical School. He added, “Whether or not Roscovitine should be used is still an open question; it’s a toxic drug—but this study shows that drugs can be used.”

 

 

 Posted by at 12:15 am
Dec 212016
 

**

 

Before we begin: No, that was not a “grabber” headline.

In fact, it’s our stance that NAFLD can, for many, many people, be effectively treated, and good health restored for many NAFLD individuals; we’ve seen it happen.

With that said, there is a slightly elevated mortality risk in people diagnosed with NAFLD. Among the scientific/medical communities, the argument continues as to whether a fatty liver condition itself may ultimately be fatal, whether other conditions concurrent with NAFLD may contribute to earlier death, or whether something else entirely is causing all the issues.

Whatever the correlation/causation, new predictors have come up as far as who is at higher risk for earlier death directly related to NAFLD. A paper from the European Association for the Study of the Liver gives details.

A Scoring System Gives New Prediction Method

According to the study, three predictive assessments can give a peek into the possible future of patients with NAFLD. These are steatosis (accumulation of fat in liver cells), activity, and fibrosis (scar tissue accumulation).  For the study and its explanation, researchers have shortened this to the acronym SAF.

This focus was no accident; researchers had already theorized the results of these three diagnostics could shed light
on the problem.

“We suspected that steatosis, activity, and fibrosis were important to overall risk, but we wanted to validate their impact on mortality over a long-term follow-up period through a validated and simple scoring system,” explained lead study author Dr. Hannes Hagstrom.

Data was collected from 139 patients.

While results – an increase in mortality over the course of the study in patients previously diagnosed with NAFLD – seems daunting, it actually offers hope for future sufferers as a heads-up of the condition, and a warning to do something about it.

The study “demonstrates the importance of having sufficient follow-up periods for patients with NAFLD” and “is an important step forward for the medical community in being able to identify the patients who are at most risk of death from the disease,” a fellow study author stated.

 

 Posted by at 9:37 pm
Dec 052016
 

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Children have an uncanny ability to bounce back from a variety of conditions and to buck the odds to achieve, over and over again, a state of good health that adults envy.

Nevertheless, the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition has recommended an NAFLD screening for all children who fall into the category of obese, warning that up to 38% of all obese children may have the condition – and not even know it.

Children’s Health: No Longer a Given

What’s daunting about this recommendation is that, like Type II diabetes, NAFLD is a condition we have traditionally associated with people who have been overweight for decades, not youngsters in the prime of life and peak of activity.

For generations, parents of slightly heavy children have been told by physicians not to worry and to await a growth spurt.

But things are changing, say experts. According to current information, one in six children is overweight in the U.S. today – and up to 38% of obese children and adolescents may have a fatty liver (NAFLD) condition.

What Constitutes “Overweight” (and Obese) in Children?

Children’s bodies – like those of adults – vary greatly, and it can be hard to determine what is some innocent “puppy fat” and what’s dangerous when it comes to a child’s weight.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a body mass index (BMI) falling between the 85 and 94th percentile is considered overweight in children; 95th percentile and above is considered obese.

A healthy weight for a child is between the 5th and 84th percentile.

How BMI is Calculated

image: cloudninecare.com

image: cloudninecare.com

BMI is calculated for same-age, same-sex children and also depends upon the child’s height (height and weight are the two calculations for an adult BMI).

Though experts argue as to whether the body mass index is an accurate assessment in all cases (for example, dense, heavy muscle will take up less space than fat and is healthier, but will weigh the same), BMI remains, for now, the best way to average a healthy or non-healthy weight for any adult or child.

Technically, BMI is one’s weight in kilograms over his or her height in centimeters, squared. A simplified child’s BMI calculator can be found here.

What a Parent Should Do

If you’re concerned about your child’s weight, do NOT panic in front of her, use the word “fat” (or “big”), or express an excess of concern. Even if well-intended, any of these things ill make her self-conscious and frightened.

Instead, take her to the doctor for a routine checkup. If the doctor is concerned about your child’s weight, talk to the doctor outside of your child’s hearing if possible for recommendations.

If your child is categorized as obese, ask for an NAFLD screening.

Getting a Child’s Weight Under Control

image: practicingparents.com

image: practicingparents.com

Helping your child with his weight is slightly different than getting your own weight under control. Children are growing, and have different nutritional needs than adults.

With that in mind, calorie restriction isn’t generally the best way to go (unless medically indicated and supervised). Instead, changing the types of foods your child eats, and reducing the number of snacks (while allowing more whole foods at mealtimes), is the right way to help your child maintain his weight while he continues to grow taller.

Ask your child’s physician for a meal plan for your child, and make sure to check in with the doctor regularly on your child’s progress.

If Your Child Has NAFLD

Image: apartmentmanagement.com

Image: apartmentmanagement.com

If your child is diagnosed with NAFLD, don’t panic. Your child’s doctor will be able to assess how advanced your child’s NAFLD is and will give you recommendations on how to help.

DO NOT over-restrict your child, put her on a crash diet, or eliminate all “fun” foods. All of these will make her rebound, may encourage her to hide, hoard and stuff food and could make her seriously ill over time. Over-restricting food in children has physical and emotional consequences.

It’s not too late to turn things around for your child. Make it a new household activity to take a walk after dinner. Take your children to the playground and play with them there so you’re all in this together. Kick a ball around; play hockey; throw a frisbee. Invest in bicycles and take everyone for a bike ride several times a week. You’ll all get healthier, and your child won’t feel alone or singled out. In the end, you’ll all benefit.

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 11:10 pm