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Metabolic syndrome and fatty liver

Excessive drinking comes with a price. In a report by the World Health Organization Global Status on Alcohol and Health, it said that there is a dual relationship between alcohol consumption and diabetes mellitus; and the development of fatty liver.

Dr. Jane Ricaforte-Campos, an internist-gastroenterologist, said that problems of fatty liver will continue to increase if obesity and diabetes are not addressed properly.

“The main cause of fatty liver is metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance which is due to obesity. So if there is an increase of incidence of diabetes and obesity, there will also be an increase in the incidence of fatty liver,” said Dr. Campos. She noted that fatty liver can be found in up to 46 percent of patients with metabolic syndrome.

Dr. Campos added that to avoid such condition, it should start with a person’s lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle still remains the mainstay in the treatment of obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver.

“The first line of treatment would depend on what is the cause. If the cause is obesity, definitely weight reduction and exercise should be recommended. Sometimes we will refer them to nutritionists for proper guidance. If he/she has fatty liver, SGPT and the SGOT is high, that’s the time we give hepatotrophic agents for whatever it’s worth.”

One of the liver-protective supplements given to those with fatty liver is silymarin, a milk thistle from Europe and the United States. And with diabetes becoming prevalent, silymarin is now also being prescribed by physicians as a prophylaxis for progression of fatty liver to more severe forms of liver disease.

Hepamin OD, which contains an optimum dose of silymarin (300 mgs), is one of the medications recommended for those with liver problems like fatty liver. Aside from silymarin, it also has dandelion root and artichoke leaf to regenerate the injured liver, cleanses the liver of dangerous toxins and prevents inflammation.

“They should always be aware that the liver is one of the biggest organs in the body that has much work,” Dr. Campos said.

“Anything that can damage the liver, it can spontaneously recover, but if you don’t immediately fix it, it might end up with cirrhosis or even cancer of the liver,” warned Dr. Campos.

In terms of fatty liver in particular, she advises patients especially those going into their 40’s, to be careful with their dietary intake. “Everything should be in moderation,” she stresses. “For those who have already fatty liver, we have to treat the underlying cause. If the case is dyslipidemia, we give antidyslipidemics. If it’s obesity, we have to address it with dietary and nutritional recommendation. We also ask them to exercise, avoid fatty foods, eat more lean meat, fibers, less sugar; and they should burn those calories,” advised Dr. Campos.

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