Red Wine and Fatty Liver

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Weight-Loss Shortcut Can Cause or Worsen Liver Disease

Even though losing weight is the best way to reduce the risk of fatty liver disease, how you shed the pounds is crucial to your liver’s health.

Sparing dedicated athletes and those born with a high metabolism, a staggering number of people carry excessive, health-damaging weight. Of the array of physical ailments that can blossom from having a high percentage of body fat, fatty liver disease ranks among the more perilous. When recognized early enough, lifestyle changes can return a fatty liver back to normal. However, liver health can deteriorate if not prioritized. Weight loss is the most obvious route for preventing fatty liver disease and other health concerns that stem from being overweight. Ironically, many turn to weight loss solutions that can actually hurt them more than being overweight.

For maintaining a healthy weight or losing excessive weight, experts advise eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly. Unfortunately, a relatively small percentage of the population actually practice these overstated rules of general health.

The following statistics demonstrate why weight loss is such a predominant concern:

·    According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), about two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.

·    An estimated one in four American adults is currently living with fatty liver disease.

·    Although it is the best way to maintain a healthy weight, only 26 percent of U.S. adults engage in vigorous leisure-time physical activity three or more times per week.

·    About 59 percent of adults do no vigorous physical activity at all in their leisure time.

Weight-Loss Shortcut
Even though the human body was designed for movement and whole food consumption, our fast-paced, technologically advanced society has unintentionally spawned generations of inactive, poorly nourished people. Whether sitting in front of a computer screen all day or wolfing down high-sugar convenience foods are at fault, people are always searching for a quick fix to help them slim down. Thus, the diet pill industry has blossomed.

Offering a theoretical shortcut to changing one’s lifestyle, many consistently search for an ideal weight loss pill. Such pills typically claim one of the following functions:

·    curb the appetite
·    deliver a burst of energy
·    increase metabolism
·    spare ingested fats from being absorbed into the bloodstream

According to liver specialist, Melissa Palmer, M.D., diet pills may produce seriously adverse or perhaps even fatal consequences in an individual with liver disease. Because everything that is ingested eventually has to be processed by the liver, the components of a diet pill increase the stress on an already burdened liver. Even if the weight loss supplement is not believed to be toxic, this added stress increases the likelihood that an ailing liver will worsen rather than improve.

Dietary supplements are not as tightly regulated by the government as are medications. Thus, manufacturers don’t need to prove to the Food and Drug Administration that their products are safe and effective before they can be sold to consumers. Considered to be one of the better weight loss supplements available, Hydroxycut is a prime example of a diet pill that can do more harm than good.

There may be great temptation to take a weight loss pill such as Hydroxycut for those already diagnosed with or at risk for fatty liver disease. However, such a shortcut can easily spell disaster for a person’s liver. In May of 2009, U.S. government health officials warned dieters to immediately stop using Hydroxycut due to concerns of it causing liver damage or hepatic failure. While the manufacturer agreed to recall 14 Hydroxycut products, many are still harboring this supplement in their homes – assuming that they will be fine. Considering that one quarter of American adults already has fatty liver disease – and many of those are undiagnosed – weight loss supplements such as Hydroxycut present a real danger.

The only healthful way to shed excessive body fat and lower your risk of fatty liver disease is through diet and exercise. It is ironic that millions of people who are overweight may take diet pills to “get healthy.” Taking weight-loss supplements may help you lose weight, but at a price. Although Hydroxycut is in the news now, most diet pills have the potential to create severe or even fatal illnesses. Because our bodies were designed for movement and whole food, these approaches to a healthful weight will triumph over manufactured shortcuts every single time., Botanical Ingredient May Be Cause of Hydroxycut Liver Damage, Study Finds, Retrieved May 5, 2009,, May 2009., Hydroxycut Recall: FDA Pulls it After Liver Damage Reports, Other Health Problems, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Retrieved May 5, 2009,, Inc., May 2009., The Importance of Exercise for People with Liver Disease/Hepatitis, Retrieved May 8, 2009, Melissa Palmer, MD, 2009., Statistics Related to Overweight and Obesity, Retrieved May 8, 2009, US Department of Health and Human Services, 2009., What is Garcinia Cambogia?, Retrieved May 5, 2009, wisegeek, 2009.

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About the Author

Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., MTCM, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)®

Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., MTCM is a long time advocate of integrating perspectives on health. With a Bachelor's degree in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester and a Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches Institute, Nicole has been a licensed acupuncturist since 2000. She has gathered acupuncture licenses in the states of California and New York, is a certified specialist with the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association, has earned diplomat status with the National Commission of Chinese and Oriental Medicine in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology and is a member of the Society for Integrative Oncology. In addition to her acupuncture practice that focuses on stress and pain relief, digestion, immunity and oncology, Nicole contributes to the integration of healthcare by writing articles for professional massage therapists and people living with liver disease.

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