A Surprising Way to Cleanse a Fatty Liver

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Today we’re going to talk about a very unconventional, uncommon, and counterintuitive fatty liver cleanse tip. See, one of the biggest issues that cause low functioning or fatty liver is a deficiency in methionine and choline. The detox solution, then, is to consume a diet that’s high in these two compounds. That means consuming a diet that’s actually high in fat.

Here’s why.

In this article:

  1. Understanding Liver Function and Fatty Liver
  2. Problems With Compromised Liver Function
  3. The Solution: Foods High in Methionine and Choline
  4. Other Tips to Incorporate

Understanding Liver Function and Fatty Liver

Before I get into the tip, I just want to give you some basics about this organ.

The liver is a 3.5-pound organ that sits over on the right side of the abdomen. It has 500 different functions. The problem? When you develop fatty liver, these functions are compromised - and that can be a huge issue.

Understanding Fatty Liver

Now, there are two different categories of fatty liver. One is caused by drinking too much alcohol, while the other is a nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). You can develop the latter from eating very poorly, and it’s more common than you’d think.

In fact, 25% of the population actually has NAFLD. And it’s not just overweight people or people with a gut. Skinny people are actually twice as likely to die from a fatty liver than overweight people. Why? Well, it’s probably because they’re skinny and they think they’re healthy and they can eat whatever they want - so they ultimately neglect their health and cause long-term problems.


The big perpetrator here is fructose. In fact, fructose is 20x more likely to cause a fatty liver than any other sugars. It also, of course, increases blood sugar and chances of diabetes.


Symptoms of fatty liver fatigue abdominal pain

When someone develops fatty liver disease, there are virtually no symptoms. You start to develop a gut, but it’s very rare to have symptoms until it starts becoming more advanced. Then, eventually, the person starts getting:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Right shoulder pain
  • Pain in the upper right track
  • Maybe headaches on the right side
  • Pain in the right rhomboid
  • Clubbed Nails

Big-Picture Issues

Eventually, after years of inflammation, you develop cirrhosis. This is the scar tissue that builds up in the organ, and it causes you to lose the function of the liver. In turn, you lose the ability to detoxify - which means you start to build up to toxic waste.


Problems With Compromised Liver Function

No Hormone Regulation

As you develop cirrhosis and compromise liver function, you also lose the ability to regulate important hormones like cortisol and estrogen and begin to build up an excess of both.

The cortisol, in particular, rises because the liver is the organ that usually helps buffer and regulate excessive amounts of cortisol (a stress hormone). If that’s not working as it should, it can cause a major adrenal fatigue problem.

Also, you start building up excessive amounts of estrogen. This can manifest as many different things:

  • In a male, it can lead to “man boobs” or excessive fat in the chest area.
  • A woman that’s estrogen dominant
  • Cancer

So a functional liver is really important in the detoxification and regulation of these two hormones.

Decreased Bile Production

The other problem is that when you have less function in the liver, you get less bile production. If you’re not producing enough bile, you can’t:

  • Break down toxic waste
  • Break down fat
  • Absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K
  • Absorb Omega-3 fatty acids

Now, this next bit of research was quite interesting. In a few studies, mice were fed methionine and choline-deficient diets. They got fatty liver disease, but they did not gain weight or develop Fat Storing Hormone resistance and diabetes. Needless to say, you should not feed your pet mice a keto diet.


The Solution: Foods High in Methionine and Choline

Methionine-rich foods cleanse fatty liver | Fatty Liver Cleanse

  • Methionine

    is an amino acid and a sulfur-rich compound that helps you break down chemicals. It is also a precursor, or building block, to glutathione - the most powerful antioxidant in the body.

  • Choline

    issue an essential nutrient in the B vitamin family. It’s also a lipotropic nutrient, meaning that it actually dissolves fat in the body (and it can actually strip off fat from your liver). In this way, it also assists in weight loss.

So now let’s get into the counter-intuitive tip.

Typically when you think about weight loss, liver detox or a detox diet, you picture juicing, a vegetable cleanse, consuming low-fat foods, consuming lower amounts of meat, etc.

However, when you do something like that, you don't get significant results.

Here's why. The foods that are loaded with choline are:

  • Egg yolks
  • Liver
  • Grass-fed dairy
  • Nutrient-dense cruciferous vegetables

Methionine-rich foods include:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Nuts
  • Fish
  • Eggs

So two of the most important nutrients in correcting or reversing a fatty liver involve foods that are higher in fat and protein. If you want to cleanse and detox a liver problem, then, you don’t want to go low fat. You don’t want to keep your protein too low.

Instead, you want moderate protein and you want to make sure that you incorporate the above list of foods. More specifically, make sure that you eat a combination of cruciferous vegetables and fattier proteins like egg yolks and fish, of course, make sure they are grass fed.

Here’s what else you can do.


Other Tips to Incorporate

Now there are two goals with this detox: getting rid of toxins and getting rid of fat. Here are some additional tips and points to help you reach those goals.

Get rid of the toxins

The liver has a detoxifying and cleansing function that you need to maintain. Cruciferous vegetables are loaded with liver-friendly phytonutrients to help make that happen. I would recommend steaming or slightly cooking these because that would release more phytonutrients.

And by the way, certain animal products - like organ meats, fish, seafood - also have antioxidants to help detox your liver. It’s not just vegetables.

Get rid of the fat

To get rid of the fat, you must lower your carbs. That’s why healthy keto is necessary. What does that mean? Low carb with a lot of vegetables

Then, of course, you should do intermittent fasting. Why? Because intermittent fasting forces your body to use up your glycogen reserve and to run off fat. In other words, it creates a vacuum to pull the fat out of the body. That’s what’s needed to start to deplete the fat in the liver.

I also suggest that you take choline as a supplement. You can get methionine from the protein (and you can also get choline). But you can take some extra choline, and I recommend 400-500 mg. You can go as high as 3000 mg if you want, but typically I always start out with 300-400 mg of choline. You can find this in a tablet or in powder, and it will start to dissolve the fat in the liver and speed up the process.

The last thing that I want to bring up is that if you try to cleanse the liver with a low-fat diet, you will not have enough bile to help detox.

One of the functions of bile is detoxification and cleansing. Bile is not just about absorbing fat-soluble vitamins. It’s about making sure that the liver can cleanse some of the toxins. And what triggers bile is a higher amount of saturated fats. That’s why you want to keep consuming egg yolks, organ meat, and moderate amounts of protein to make sure that you release the bile and you don’t become deficient in methionine or choline.

Questions about your liver health? Let us know if the comments below!

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