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What has Choline got to do with Fatty Liver?

A very unsexy photo of some hard boiled eggs, so I wouldn’t blame you if you just scrolled on by, but if you have stopped to wonder what this post is about, it’s fatty liver & choline.

Yes, another very unsexy topic, but there you go, I’m excelling myself…

Eggs are high in choline

1 in 5 people in the UK may have a fatty liver

Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver is a growing concern. It is estimated that one in five people in the UK have a fatty liver and most are totally unaware that they do, because the early stages are relatively symptomless…perhaps some tiredness, or an occasional stomach-ache. Who can put hand on heart and say they are never tired in this hectic world we live in?

29% of people with NAFLD progress to Cirrhosis

Usually, we associate liver disease with alcohol abuse, but people who don’t drink can also develop cirrhosis. Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease progresses in stages, starting with fat accumulating in the liver (NAFLD), then fat with inflammation, called Non Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis (NASH), moving on to scarring and then Cirrhosis, where scar tissue replaces liver cells. 29% of people with NAFLD progress to Cirrhosis. The British Liver Trust also believes that four in five people who have the more advanced form of fatty liver disease, are undiagnosed.

Nutritional Therapy helps you to identify and tackle problems earlier, resulting in better long-term health

So, why isn’t it picked up sooner, so that diet and lifestyle can help reverse a fatty liver, or prevent further damage? Short answer is that the reference ranges the GPs use are too broad, only picking up the problem when it is already quite severe. What difference could be made if the focus was on preventative care? This is where nutritional therapy can be very useful, because we can identify problems in the early stages, and work with you to rebalance your body.

The liver is an essential part of human metabolism and has a vast job to do, so any damage to it, makes it more difficult to fulfil its functions.

What causes a fatty liver?

The MAIN cause of NAFLD is a high fructose diet, chronic excessive carbohydrate consumption, and/or a reliance on highly processed foods, so eating and cooking from fresh, natural, identifiable ingredients is a must, as is eliminating the crap and sugar.

But, what about Choline?

A choline deficient diet has been shown in numerous studies to also cause fatty liver. This is because phosphatidylcholine is essential for the assembly and secretion of VLDL from the liver (VLDL is a particle composed of lipids (fats) and protein), so if it’s not chucking it out of the liver, it’s hanging around to cause problems. Although our clever bodies can make some choline, it’s insufficient for our needs and we need it from the diet…roughly 500mg per day.

So, where do we get choline from?

The main dietary sources of choline are liver (yes, I hear you retching!) and eggs (see, it's not all bad!) Cue my delightful photo of eggs. You can also find it, to a lesser extent, from meat, fish and beans and some vegetables. Dry soybeans are listed as high, but you’re not going to eat dry are you? They need rehydrating, thus lowering the quantity of choline per serving. Wheatgerm is also high, though are you really going to eat vast quantities of wheatgerm each day? Maybe you are, who knows…


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