Fatty Liver and Diabetes

A recent study done in Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in South Korea, found that people who were diagnosed with fatty liver, have also an increased chance to for Type 2 Diabetes.

This is quite a significant find, because until now it was believed that a Fatty Liver could be a side effect of other diseases, but this research clearly shows that a fatty liver can actually endorse serious conditions, like Diabetes.

Why Fatty Liver and Diabetes are related?

The main reason that fatty liver can promote diabetes development is because fatty liver has many properties that are shared with Diabetes, like excess weight, metabolic abnormalities, and high glucose & triglyceride levels in the blood.

The research has found that 27% of the people with diabetes also have a Fatty Liver, and concluded that fatty liver is the most common disease shared with diabetes.

This doesn’t mean that a fatty liver is a direct cause of diabetes, but it does suggest that a fatty liver could be an important sign of diabetes development.

What does this mean about me?

This is one more reason to cure a fatty liver as soon as you’re diagnosed, or even better prevent fatty liver development at the first place. Diabetes is just one example of serious diseases that has relation to fatty liver. We are still unaware of the full list of potential conditions and diseases that are somehow related to a fatty liver.

In addition, if you do have Diabetes, I highly recommend getting The Diabetes Reversing guide by Matt Traverso. It helped many of my own patients.

24 years old Fatty Liver patient

This is a letter I received not a long time ago from David, a 24 years old man, who was diagnosed to have a fatty liver:


2 Months ago I was told I have Fatty Liver Disease. I am 24 years old, I weight at 260 pounds, 5’11” tall. I am over weight and I have more fatty mass than muscle mass. Knowing that I have this disease is draining my mind and creating a lot of stress because I just don’t know how bad I have it.

What makes it more stressful is the fact that I have lost 17 pounds since January of this year and I don’t know how I did it. I read that weight loss is a sign of advancement of the Disease. The only thing I have changed is that I have been eating a healthy breakfast in the morning that includes lots of fruit and no exercise. The other thing that I had done was take synthroid for my thyroid functions. I took the pill for 3 months or so and stopped taking it around January. I am stilling losing weight to this day and it is driving me nuts.

Can you tell me at my age should I be worried about the weight loss as a sign of advancement? I just pray that its not that far along so that I can have a chance to exercise and eat better to turn this disease around. What can I do to see just how bad I really have it. Your prompt response would be greatly enjoyed.

Few hours later I sent him the following answer:

Before I can answer to your questions, I need to know some missing details.

First of all, which type of fatty liver disease do you have? Alcoholic or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease?
Have you performed any abdominal ultrasound test for fatty liver diagnosis?

Second, have you done any liver function blood tests? If so, what were the results? Specifically, the results of liver enzymes ALT and AST.

You are 24 years old; meaning the change the disease isn’t advanced yet. It takes decades for a fatty liver to advance to a much serious liver conditions.

Waiting for your reply.
Dr. Mark Bar-Gomel

David replied:

I have NAFLD. A ultrasound was preformed on my liver to determine that I have NAFLD. My blood test results were: AST = 82, ALT= 161. Tests were done 12/16/08.

My report produced from the ultrasound is as follows:

FINDINGS: The liver is difficult to penetrate and has a coarsened echotexture.
No hepatic mass or intrahepatic biliary ductal dilatation is seen. The
pancreas appears normal. The gallbladder is normal. Right kidney is normal.
Common bile duct measures 3 mm. No free fluid is seen.

IMPRESSION: The appearance of the liver suggests hepatic steatosis. No focal
hepatic lesion or intrahepatic biliary ductal dilatation is seen.

I hope you can answer my questions with the information given above. With that said, In general what can I eat to help my liver out? I heard lemon juice is okay? Is this true? What else if you have any other ideas.

My answer to him:

From the information you provided, it is my honest though that your condition is reversible. I’m positive your weight loose is not an indication for advanced stage of the disease.
To reverse the condition, it will require from you to change your life style and eating habits.

Regarding lemon juice, the answer is yes. There are some indications that lemon juice is good for a fatty liver. You can also read the foods for fatty liver article that gives a good guideline for what you should eat.

Fatty Liver and Weight Loss

Weight loss is a crucial part in fatty liver treatment. Losing body weight helped many patients to reverse a non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH / NAFLD) fatty liver disease.

Why weight loss is important in Fatty Liver

The answer to this question is that when a body has excessive amounts of fat, the liver needs to work harder.

And the more the liver needs to work harder, there is an increased chance of inflammation of the liver, that in many cases leads to a fatty liver.

The fatty tissues around the liver cause it to work less efficiently, and some of its daily routine is damaged.

When this happens, it releases excessive liver enzymes, such as ALT or AST (more details about liver enzymes can be found in the liver function blood tests article).

Therefor, the more fat you lose following a weight loss, your liver will simply work better, and will release decreased amounts of ALT, and hopefully normal amount of the enzyme will flow into your blood stream.

In addition, if you’re serious about weight loss, there is one more method that worked for most of my own patients with fatty liver. I highly recommend using the Fatty Liver Diet Guide written by Dorothy Spencer BSN, RN. It’s an alternative and proven method to cure a fatty liver by natural means. Click here to learn more.

Fatty Liver Causes

There are two types of fatty liver – one that develops due to excessive consumption of alcohol, and the other that develops in non-drinkers, after an excessive amounts of fat buildup around the liver.

Alcoholic Fatty Liver

Chronic alcoholism can lead to a slow and progressive liver failure. This is known as one of the two common fatty liver causes, because the first phase of an alcoholic liver diseases will probably be an Alcoholic liver disease (also called “alcoholic steatosis”).

The damage is usually reversible if the patient becomes determined and abstinent. But with continued drinking, the result could be unfortunate. When this happens, liver cells gradually die and will be replaced by scar tissue. Excessive amounts of scar tissue can lead to a liver failure and/or Cirrhosis.

Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

The second fatty liver type and by large a more common one, is a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Until couple of year ago, it was believed that a non-alcoholics fatty liver was just a symptom of being overweight, or a diabetic. But studies from years ago have concluded that a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a completely different disease, which can lead to serious consequences if untreated. The most common causes of the disease are:

  • Bad Food habits – eating high-fat concentrated, fried food with high cholesterol; “fast food”; sugar rich snacks.
  • Lack or very low physical activity.
  • Being overweight or obese.

Non-alcholic Fatty Liver Disease and Cirrhosis Progression

NAFLD includes two different levels

  • Simple Fatty Liver (steatosis)
    This is caused due to the deposition of fats in the liver. It usually does not lead to liver inflammation or scar tissue, and the risk of progressive liver damage is relatively low. There are no identified symptoms for simple fatty liver.
  • NASH (Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis)
    In NASH, besides the excess of fat, there are some signs of inflammation and the liver cells are dying (necrosis).

NASH considered to be more severe than other forms of Non-Alcoholic fatty liver. This is because the simple fact that liver cells are dying. Patients who suffer from NASH are one stage closer to liver cirrhosis. In the United Status, NASH is now considered to be the 3rd most common cause of liver disease in adults (followed by hepatitis C and alcohol). This is most popular cause of liver disease among adolescents.

How common is a Fatty Liver?

So how really common is fatty liver? It’s more common than you think.

Just is the United States, fatty liver is undoubtedly the most popular cause of elevated liver enzymes (ALT) found in a liver function blood test. It now affects around 25% of all adult Americans.

Even though any person can have a fatty liver, the typical patient is expected to be overweight or obese.

In many cases, patients also suffer from elevated levels of triglyceride and cholesterol in the blood; but consuming fatty foods is not the only direct cause of fatty liver.

Fatty Liver is thought to be more common in men than in women, but it effects both sexes. Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can increase the chances of developing an alcoholic fatty liver.

Until now, heredity was not found to play a significant role in the disease, so it is not passed from parent to child.