Signs of serious liver problems include fatigue, confusion, itchy skin, and, according to the British Liver Trust, “writing is getting tough, spider and small,” writes Dr Michael Mosley, pictured
Tall, the size of a rugby ball, rubbery, and reddish-brown in color, your liver is not a glamorous organ.
Yet, it quietly performs at least 500 vital functions, including removing toxins from your blood and converting the food you eat into energy, and you certainly couldn’t live without it.
The bad news is that about a third of us now have signs of fatty liver disease – which, as the name suggests, is the result of a buildup of fat that can lead to scarring and the liver becomes stiff and stiff. unable to function. correctly and possibly liver failure.
Even if you avoid this extreme, a damaged liver is bad for your health. And because many of us treat our livers the wrong way, liver disease is now a leading cause of premature death in the UK.
But he’s a largely silent killer because most people don’t know they’re in danger until too late.
Signs of serious liver problems include fatigue, confusion, itchy skin, and, according to the British Liver Trust, “writing is getting tough, spider and small.” Maybe a sign that the toxins are reaching the brain.
The good news is that your liver has incredible regenerative powers and a recent study from Sweden showed that following the 5: 2 diet, which I have long advocated, is a safe and effective way to slim down fatty liver disease. and restore it to good health.
Drinking too much alcohol was once the leading cause of liver failure, but nowadays it’s more likely to be the result of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) – and the high levels we have in the UK – Uni are mainly the result of our rapidly expanding waistlines.
This is because when we gain weight, fat is not distributed evenly throughout our body.
You don’t, for example, develop fatty feet or a greasy forehead. Instead, the excess calories are stored in fat cells on the buttocks, thighs, stomach, and under the skin. But beyond a certain point, your body lacks “safe” places to store fat.
So, it starts putting some of that fat in your liver. Ideally, this should have almost no fat. If your liver contains more than 5% fat, officially you have fatty liver disease.
Some time ago, while making a documentary, I saw a seriously overweight young man, whose liver was almost 60% fat.
The good news is that your liver has incredible regenerative powers and a recent study in Sweden showed that following the 5: 2 diet, which I have long advocated, is a safe and effective way to slim down fatty liver disease. and restore it to good health
Since there are few signs of early fatty liver disease, the only way to reliably detect it is with an ultrasound or a blood test, called a liver function test, which measures enzymes and proteins that build up in the blood. when the liver is damaged. The young man in the documentary had no symptoms and only found out he had fatty liver with a CT scan.
You are more at risk of getting NAFLD if you are over 50, have a large waist, or smoke (there are chemicals in tobacco that are toxic to liver cells). It is also more common in people with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or all three. But you can’t have any and still have fatty liver. Nine years ago, I had an MRI scan as part of a documentary I was doing and found that my liver was streaked with fat.
Even though at the time I didn’t look overweight, it turns out I was a TOFI – thin on the outside, fat on the inside. The only sign that I was carrying too much internal fat was my 37 inch waist, which was relatively large for my height (I’m 5 feet 11 inches) – my waist is now around 34 inches.
Ideally, your height should be less than half your height. The NHS recommends losing weight if your waistline is 37 inches or more for men and 31.5 inches or more for women.
Around this time, I also found out that I had type 2 diabetes, and the two were almost certainly related. I went on the 5: 2 diet (reducing my calorie intake to around 600 per day twice a week, then eating normally on the other days) and within a few months I lost almost 20 lbs and reversed to both my fatty liver and type 2 diabetes.
So I was not surprised by the results of a recent study by the famous Karolinska Institute in Sweden on 5: 2 and fatty liver disease.
Researchers randomly assigned patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to a 5: 2 diet, a low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diet, or received general lifestyle advice from a hepatologist ( a liver expert).
After 12 weeks, those following the 5: 2 and LCHF diets not only had lost an average of 16 lbs (7.4 kg), three times the weight of those following standard lifestyle advice, but there was a greater drop in their liver levels. large.
The dropout rate was lowest in the 5: 2 group, suggesting it was the easiest diet to follow. It was also the only one of the three that led to significant improvements in cholesterol and liver stiffness, a measure of damage.
I suspect the reason the two diet groups did better is because they lost more fat overall. When it comes to liver stiffness, intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce inflammation, which can be essential.
If you’re worried about having fatty liver disease, talk to your GP and maybe get a blood test done. If it turns out you’re having trouble, at least you know how to fix it. Liver damage is reversible, but it’s obviously best to start as early as possible.
Rinse after brushing your teeth? Most people (62%) do, according to a survey.
Big mistake: if you do, you are removing fluoride from your toothpaste. If you spit, then more fluoride will hang around, strengthening your tooth enamel. For similar reasons, using mouthwash after brushing is also a no-no.
When it comes to flossing, you should always do it before brushing, suggests a study by dentists in Iran. They found that the floss then brush approach not only removes more plaque, but flossing after brushing means that the food, plaque, and bacteria you released linger in your mouth the entire time. night.
I will run soon, but curse the other runners under my breath!
Spring is coming and the weather is fine, runners across the country will be dusting off their coaches and reluctantly running again.
I say “reluctantly” because a lot of people, including me, run because they feel they should, not because they like it. And I’m jealous of those who get a “high” doing it.
For years we have been told that this is caused by endorphins, feel-good chemicals produced by your body that mimic the action of opioid drugs. In fact, if the effect is real, it has nothing to do with endorphins, according to a new study from the University Medical Center in Hamburg, Germany.
The researchers took 63 runners who all claimed to feel the “high” and gave them either an injection of naloxone, a drug that blocks opioid absorption, or a placebo.
After a 45 minute run, most runners still reported peaking, suggesting it wasn’t the endorphins. It turned out to be due to an increase in endocannabinoids, chemicals that mimic the actions of cannabis (and play a role in mood).
A few years ago, I had a similar experiment with Dr Saoirse O’Sullivan, physiologist at the University of Nottingham, where we tested three runners and detected a 30% increase in their endocannabinoid levels after the ‘exercise.
One, who suffers from depression, told me that she self-heals by running. As Dr. O’Sullivan explains, “We are healthier mentally and physically when we exercise, so having a reward system for exercise seems like a good evolutionary thing.
But not all of us have the buzz. Tests show that my endocannabinoid levels do not increase after exercise. Nonetheless, because I believe in the health benefits, I keep running, cursing the happy runners who walk past me.
A lot of people, myself included, run because they think they should, not because they like it. And I’m jealous of those who get a high doing it [File photo]