Text: Su Ziqian (Chinese and Western physician)
(Hong Kong News) Many people do not know that they have fatty liver until complications occur. A few years ago, the Chinese University even estimated that only 20% of Hong Kong people had fatty liver.
As mentioned in the last issue, there are four DIY magic weapons that patients can adjust in their lifestyle to prevent or reduce fatty liver disease. The first to third items are easier to understand. The fourth item is deficient in most people. Why does lack of sleep cause fatty liver?
In fact, sleep is a very important part of the body. Sleeping well and getting enough sleep can effectively improve the body’s metabolism. If you don’t get enough sleep for a long time, the liver’s metabolism will actually slow down, which may affect the liver’s ability to digest fatty acids and cause fat to accumulate in the liver.
In addition, the body contains many different oxidative free radicals. Adequate sleep is also an important part of allowing the body to neutralize oxidative free radicals. There are two major steps in the formation of fatty liver. The second step is excessive oxidative free radicals in the liver. In addition, it turns out that lack of sleep can also reduce the body’s appetite-suppressing hormone (leptin). As soon as leptin decreases, the human brain will generate a signal to eat, hoping to get satisfaction from food. Just like what most people call Comfort eating, eating in disguised form will naturally cause fatty liver.
It is scientifically proven that it can be reversed
A Korean study found that if you sleep less than 7 hours a day, your chance of developing fatty liver will increase. However, if you sleep less than 7 hours from Monday to Friday on weekdays and catch up on sleep during weekends and holidays, you can also reduce the risk of fatty liver. Therefore, according to this study, if you don’t get enough sleep on weekdays, you should sleep more during holidays. Therefore, sleep actually has a therapeutic effect on many diseases in the body. Of course, it does not mean just sleeping without exercising every day. But adequate sleep does have scientific evidence that it can reduce many diseases.
So what are the Western medicine treatments for fatty liver? As mentioned above, fatty liver and diabetes are closely related, and the two sometimes appear together. Therefore, if a diabetic patient also suffers from fatty liver, there are many oral hypoglycemic drugs, especially oral drugs that increase insulin sensitivity, which can reduce the accumulation of fat in the liver and can alleviate and reverse fatty liver. But if you don’t have diabetes, this type of drug may not be suitable.
If people who are not obese or diabetic have fatty liver, recent studies have found that using some oral probiotics to regulate the bacterial imbalance in the intestines can also reduce fatty liver. In addition, there is some scientific evidence that using some antioxidants, which are oxidants that counteract the second step in the formation of fatty liver, can reverse fatty liver. Vitamin E has the most data.
Vitamin E is actually a light antioxidant, so it is not surprising that it can improve fatty liver. Some studies have also found that eating omega-3 also has some protective effects on fatty liver. Other antioxidants may achieve similar results. However, please note that before using any Western medicine or supplements to treat fatty liver, patients must consult their attending Western physician to avoid risks.
As for how to treat it with traditional Chinese medicine? First of all, Chinese medicine believes that the main cause of fatty liver is weak gastrointestinal and overeating. Once a person becomes obese, the body will produce phlegm and dampness, and the nutrients from excessive eating will turn into “paste”. This high-nutrition reaction of the body will become a load on the body and become a kind of accumulation in the body.
Need to be combined with liver-tonifying traditional Chinese medicine
Therefore, when treating fatty liver, Chinese medicine first focuses on strengthening the spleen and reducing dampness. The simplest dietary therapy is to take Chinese medicines such as Yunling Atractylodes regularly.
Simply relying on these dietary therapies generally has little effect, and fatty liver will always accumulate in the body. Sometimes heavier traditional Chinese medicine, such as rhubarb, is used to expel excess accumulation from the body; in addition, some patients suffer from stagnation of liver qi. Therefore, it is necessary to add liver-soothing traditional Chinese medicine and introduce the medicine into the liver meridian.
If there are complications such as mild cirrhosis, or hepatitis caused by fatty liver, liver-tonifying Chinese medicines need to be used. Some Chinese medicines have been proven to have anti-fibrotic effects. Chinese medicine prescriptions are generally based on the patient’s constitution and the degree of fatty liver. , because everyone’s body constitution is different.
Traditional Chinese and Western medicine teach you how to protect your liver
In short, to use Chinese and Western medicine to treat fatty liver, I would recommend that patients take a three-month course of Chinese medicine and then undergo a check-up to see the degree of improvement. At the same time, they should also use some Western medicine or supplements.
When the condition improves, you can combine it with simple diet and continue to exercise to consolidate and maintain the curative effect.
Many cancer survivors do not know that many chemotherapy drugs and certain targeted drugs can cause some damage to the liver, which can increase the risk of developing fatty liver in the long term. The most common thing is that breast cancer patients sometimes undergo two different chemotherapy treatments, but their liver function may not change much when they receive chemotherapy injections.
Chemotherapy drugs affect liver function
However, a physical examination after recovery revealed the presence of fatty liver. Some patients can improve on their own after a period of time, but if the condition is severe or there is still no improvement after six months to one year of observation, they may need to seek treatment.
Why can chemotherapy cause fatty liver? It is not that chemotherapy drugs damage the detoxification function of the liver and reduce the liver’s ability to digest fatty acids and excrete fat. In addition, most chemotherapy drugs are oxidants that can produce a large amount of oxidative free radicals, affecting the liver and increasing the risk of fatty liver. risk.
Excessive sugar intake should be avoided
All in all, fatty liver is a relatively underestimated disease. I hope that more and more people in today’s society are interested in sports and are more and more careful about avoiding excessive sugar intake. This can prevent more and more fatty livers from causing cirrhosis like in Western society. and liver cancer.
To prevent and treat fatty liver, the two methods of traditional Chinese and Western medicine and the four magic weapons of life adjustment are equally important.