Momentum in the Mountains 2024


The FIRST Symptom of a Fatty Liver

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 05/14/2024

The liver is one of the hardest working and vital organs in the body, which is why protecting your liver's health is one of the most important things you can do to safeguard your health. Understanding how fatty liver disease progresses is crucial to managing your liver well.

Learn about the liver, fatty liver disease, and what steps you can take to support your liver's health.

The Silent Progression of Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver disease appears slowly at first, but can cause considerable damage.

If you are not aware of the symptoms of fatty liver disease, it may be too late by the time you discover the ailment. Early detection can save your liver and allow you to ensure your long term health.

The Link Between Fatty Liver and Insulin Resistance

When you have a diet high in sugar and carbs, your body produces a lot more insulin than it should. This can lead the body to become insulin resistant, which raises your blood sugar levels.

All the extra sugar in your bloodstream eventually gets deposited in the liver. With enough sugar, the liver begins to inflame.

This inflammation leads to fatty liver disease, which gets worse the longer it goes without treatment and dietary changes.

Breaking the Cycle

To prevent the worsening of fatty liver disease, it is important to implement strategies that tame inflammation and boost insulin sensitivity.

From Inflammation to Cirrhosis: The Scar Tissue Connection

Fatty liver causes scar tissue when the liver has been inflamed for too long.

This scar tissue is known as cirrhosis. With enough time and unchecked inflammation, the liver becomes rough with scar tissue and loses its ability to function correctly.

Nutritional Deficiencies Stemming from Fatty Liver

When your liver starts packing on fat, it no longer is able to effectively produce bile.

Bile production is your body's way of breaking down fats and fat-soluble vitamins, so without enough you can quickly become nutrient deficient.

Fat-soluble vitamins

The Importance of Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble and require bile to be absorbed by the body.

So, if you notice a deficiency in any or all of these vitamins despite healthy intake levels, you should consult a medical professional on the health of your liver.

Hormonal Imbalances and Toxin Buildup Due to Fatty Liver

When fatty liver disease develops in your liver, it is no longer able to effectively filter toxins out from the body, leaving you vulnerable to many negative side effects.

Estrogen Dominance and Its Effects

Hormonal imbalance is common when fatty liver develops. For women, an increase in estrogen could mean less healthy hair or weight gain.

Men might experience hair loss as their testosterone decreases and estrogen takes over.

Metabolic Syndrome and Its Association with Fatty Liver

Metabolic syndrome, a cluster of pre-diabetes, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol issues, can be even more problematic when paired with fatty liver disease.

This can cause weight gain and will cause damage to the cardiovascular system if left unchecked.

If you suspect you are suffering from either metabolic syndrome or fatty liver, it is crucial to check with your physician immediately.

Nutritional Support for Managing Fatty Liver Disease

Choline helps dissolve fat accumulations in the liver by revving up lipotropic functions. This nutrient doesn't work alone; it teams up with vitamin E, which can prevent scar tissue from forming as quickly.

Ensuring that you consume enough choline and vitamin E is critical if you suspect you may be suffering from fatty liver.

Human liver illustration

Navigating Liver Pain in Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver disease can actually cause extreme pain, but this confuses people since the liver lacks pain receptors.

Discomfort in fatty liver disease typically arises due to the stretching and inflammation of the liver capsule, where pain is felt in the upper right abdomen.

This condition requires proper medical evaluation and lifestyle modifications for effective management.

Liver pain associated with fatty liver disease can manifest differently, and understanding its location and underlying causes is crucial for effective management. In the early stages of fatty liver disease, individuals may not experience noticeable pain.

However, as the condition progresses, the following aspects of liver pain can be considered: Right Upper Abdomen: Liver pain is commonly felt in the upper right side of the abdomen, beneath the ribcage.

This area is where the liver is situated, and inflammation or enlargement of the liver can lead to discomfort.

  • Inflammation: Fatty liver disease often involves inflammation of the liver cells. As the liver swells, it can cause stretching of the capsule surrounding the liver, leading to pain.

  • Liver Enlargement: Fat accumulation in liver cells can result in hepatomegaly or an enlarged liver. This enlargement can contribute to pain and discomfort in the abdominal region.

  • Complications: Advanced stages of fatty liver disease may lead to complications such as fibrosis or cirrhosis, where scarring of the liver occurs. This can cause persistent pain and discomfort.

  • Fatigue: Liver pain in fatty liver disease may be accompanied by fatigue, weakness, and malaise.

  • Jaundice: In more severe cases, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) may occur, indicating significant liver dysfunction.

  • Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a healthy lifestyle is crucial in managing and preventing fatty liver disease. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, and weight management.

If you are experiencing persistent or severe liver pain, along with associated symptoms, you should seek prompt medical attention. Diagnostic tests, such as blood work and imaging studies, can help determine the extent of liver damage and guide appropriate interventions.


Safeguarding your liver's health is essential as fatty liver disease can progress silently and lead to serious complications. Understanding the link between fatty liver and insulin resistance underscores the importance of dietary changes to reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity.

Nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances further highlight the need for adequate vitamin intake and addressing metabolic issues. Prompt medical evaluation and lifestyle adjustments are crucial for managing fatty liver disease and preventing its progression.

Seeking medical attention for persistent symptoms is essential for early detection and intervention. Prioritizing liver health through proactive measures is vital for long-term well-being.

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