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How To Reverse A Fatty Liver

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/21/2015

Interested to know how to reverse a fatty liver? Here’s what you need to learn to help regain good liver health again.

RELATED: 3 Weird Symptoms of a Fatty Liver

In this article: 

  1. Drinking Alcohol with a Fatty Liver
  2. Your Liver Is an Amazing Miraculous Organ
  3. Symptoms of Liver Damage
  4. Stages of Liver Failure or Damage
  5. A Fatty Liver Needs Time to Heal
  6. How to Reverse a Fatty Liver in Two Simple Steps

What to Know About How to Reverse a Fatty Liver


Drinking Alcohol with a Fatty Liver

Probably, the most frequently asked question about fatty liver is this: Can I drink alcohol if I have fatty liver disease?

The answer is no, and I’ll explain why a little later. Just for the record, everything I recommend here, such as not drinking alcohol, is what I personally do, too. After knowing how the liver hurts and what hurts it, I won’t drink any alcohol – or recommend it.

What is an alcoholic fatty liver? Why does it happen? What are the symptoms? What can I do about it? These are the next questions that are most frequently asked. I’ll explain more below.


Your Liver Is an Amazing Miraculous Organ

Human Body Organs Anatomy (Liver). 3D | How To Reverse A Fatty Liver

Before we dig deeper into knowing how to reverse fatty liver, let me first discuss the organ’s function in the body. Your liver weighs about 3.5 pounds. It’s located on the right side of your body, in the front near the bottom of your ribs. 

It has over 500 functions, including working with your immune system, detoxifying chemicals, and building proteins and hormones(1). If you counted the cells in the liver, you’d have 50,000-100,000 units of cells doing all the work.

Interestingly, 90% of your liver can be destroyed, and yet, you will still function pretty well. This is an example of the idea that how you feel doesn’t have a direct correlation to your health. You can feel good but still have liver damage. One thing we know now is it’s how you live – your lifestyle habits – that predict how healthy your liver is. 


Symptoms of Liver Damage

The symptoms of liver damage include:

  • Bloating
  • Shoulder pain
  • White of the eyes turn yellow
  • Itching on palms and soles
  • Basketball belly (a big belly that looks like there’s a basketball in the abdomen)

RELATED: Can the Ketogenic Diet Cause a Fatty Liver Without Enough Vegetables 


Stages of Liver Failure or Damage

Realistic illustration of comparsion of healthy and sick (cirrhosis) human livers | How To Reverse A Fatty Liver

Your liver doesn’t go from healthy to unhealthy overnight. There are different stages where it degenerates(2).

Stage 1 – Inflammation

Inflammation results from a virus attack on the body, bad eating, or alcohol consumption. Every time you drink, it creates trauma and kills liver cells. Every time you take medications, you kill liver cells. Even the drug, Lipitor, increases liver enzymes by 500%. One of the big side effects of Lipitor is liver damage.

Stage 2 – Fatty Deposits Lodge in the Liver

When this happens, the liver cells are replaced with excess fat. A fatty liver needs a liver biopsy to detect it. Although if a health practitioner is performing an ultrasound on a large belly, a fatty liver may be detected.

Stage 3 – Cirrhosis

Over time, scar tissue replaces the dysfunctional cells, which leads to cirrhosis. Then fibrosis comes in, which is loss of liver function.

Fibrosis Definition: The formation of an excessively large amount of scar tissue that happens when the liver replaces or repairs damaged cells. It's the first phase of liver scarring.

Stage 4 – Affects Other Organs

When the liver swells, it causes pressure on the heart, causing arrhythmias, which means erratic heartbeats. High blood pressure and a high heart rate also occur. When there’s swelling of the liver, patients are told not to sleep on their left side because this increases the pressure on the organs and compresses the heart. Sleeping on the right side is recommended if you have liver issues. 


A Fatty Liver Needs Time to Heal

Male Patient And Doctor Have Consultation In Hospital Room | How To Reverse A Fatty Liver

Part of learning how to reverse a fatty liver is to understand that the liver takes time to heal. The liver is one of the only organs in the body that can completely regenerate, but the process is slow – it may take up to three years.

The worst advice you can get on how to reverse a fatty liver is to eat everything in moderation because one alcoholic drink can take four days for your liver to recover from. You can’t heal the liver if you do things in moderation such as drinking alcohol. Let the liver recover completely by staying away from alcohol entirely.

Often, people misunderstand this principle. One patient I had was on my Liver Enhancement Program, and he successfully lost weight for two weeks and then stopped the program. He called and said the program didn’t work. I explained to him that he had to do it longer. He thought the liver would be healed in two weeks. It takes much longer!


How to Reverse a Fatty Liver in Two Simple Steps

1. Stop the things that are destroying the liver.

It’s so important to eliminate the risk factors from your life and the fatty liver diet destroying your liver. This means no alcohol! You can’t get away with drinking every night.

The liver does not do well with deep-fried foods. Corn oil and hydrogenated oils are bad, too(3). Diet soda can cause a fatty liver so stop drinking soft drinks!

2. Add the things that heal the liver. 

  • Kombucha tea is a good replacement for alcohol – it helps you feel relaxed and calm. It has all the same effects as the alcohol you want without the damage – and it helps heal your liver(4).
  • Bitter vegetables such as collard greens, spinach, mustard greens, dandelion, kale, and radishes are great additions to your low-carb diet or plant-based diet because they help heal the liver(5). The more bitter they are, the better. Consume them on a regular basis. If you can’t seem to get them down, go with a vegetable blend such as the one I created for my patients called Organic Cruciferous Food.
  • The vegetables included in this cruciferous blend formula – garlic, turmeric, parsley (has the most vitamin A of any vegetables), Brussels sprouts, kale (has the second most vitamin A of the vegetables), and cabbage.
  • Your liver needs a certain type of fat called a medium chain triglyceride, or MCT(6). One of the best sources is coconut oil, which takes the strain off the liver. Butter is good, too.
  • One teaspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with water a few times a day can help strip off the fat from the liver(7). It cleans out some of the toxic wastes in the liver (and some of the fat) as well.
  • The B vitamins are also important in your well-balanced diet. Vitamin B2, choline, and folate are the B vitamins that help your liver regenerate over time (8)

It is important to remember and understand that knowing how to reverse a fatty liver includes letting the liver heal for a longer period. You have to take an aggressive approach to heal your liver completely.  You must also be patient because your liver will heal as long as you heed these tips.

Do you have a fatty liver? How have you been managing it? Share what you know in the comments section below.


(1)  https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/liver-anatomy-and-functions

(2)  https://liverfoundation.org/for-patients/about-the-liver/the-progression-of-liver-disease/

(3)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21877109

(3)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29571977

(4)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19420997

(4)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14631833

(4)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11723720

(4)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21388793

(5)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26401074

(5)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21535814

(5)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4499388/

(6)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1522134/

(7)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24894721

(7)  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25853952

(8)  https://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/679251/b-complex-vitamins-liver-disease

Up Next:

See the importance of your liver and see more nutrition advice from Dr. Berg Video Blog.

Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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