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Fatty liver, a disease that regularly appears in the headlines of the tabloids, is a real threat to public health and, according to estimates, up to a quarter of Finnish adults suffer from it. It is completely possible to cure fatty liver and in this article we will get to know whether CBD oil could be of any help to restore the situation to its original state. We also look at the functions of the endocannabinoid system in the background of fatty liver and find out what fatty liver actually is!
What is fatty liver?
Fatty liver is the most common liver disease and occurs especially in the so-called in welfare states. Before, it was diagnosed only in 40-60 year olds and mostly alcoholics, but as overweight becomes more common, it is found in more and younger people, and the cause is no longer alcohol but an unhealthy diet. (1,2)
According to estimates, even one in four Finnish adults has a fatty liver. Fatty liver cases caused by alcohol are only a fraction of this, as approx. 75% percent of fatty liver diagnoses are given due to diet. Fatty liver is very common in diabetics, but it is often caused by factors that are not so easy to influence (1).
In fatty liver, too much fat accumulates inside the liver cells, in the fat cells and in the abdominal cavity. This excess fat is caused by extensive metabolic disorders, the causes of which are diverse and individual. (1,2)
Causes of fatty liver
Fatty liver is mainly caused by unhealthy lifestyles. Heavy alcohol use and being overweight are the most significant factors, but it’s not always about that, but sometimes genes also predispose the liver to obesity. Very rarely, but sometimes, some medicines can cause fatty liver.
In addition to lifestyle, age and insulin resistance also affect fatty liver. Insulin resistance is a state of the body that contributes to the onset of various diseases, you can read more about it e.g. from here .
Symptoms of fatty liver
Fatty liver in itself does not cause any clear tangible or visible symptoms, but it contributes to various diseases such as diabetes and onset of hypertension. (1)
Fatty liver is not associated with pain or other sensations, so it can be challenging to detect it before it’s too late. Although the clear indications of the possibility of fatty liver are usually heavy alcohol use and obesity, overweight or alcohol problems do not always occur, and the liver values may also be within the reference values despite the disease.
The diagnosis is confirmed by a blood test and an echocardiography of the liver.
Prevention and treatment of fatty liver
Healthy lifestyles are the basis of both the prevention and treatment of fatty liver.
There is no medical treatment directly available for fatty liver, but with a lifestyle overhaul, a fatty liver can usually be cured completely.
The most effective way to treat fatty liver is to reduce alcohol consumption and get rid of excess weight. It has been established that even a few percent weight loss can reduce the fat percentage of the liver by up to ten. Reducing alcohol, regular exercise and an optimal diet together is the most effective and fastest way to get rid of fatty liver, but investing in any of them is already a step in the better direction! (1)
You should add fruits, vegetables and berries to your diet instead of slow carbohydrates and use a wider range of different fat sources.
There are many perspectives on the choice of fats, but a general guideline could be to pay attention to versatility and quality. Many foods already contain a lot of fat, such as meat, eggs, avocado, nuts, etc. and there is always no need for additional fat (bread topping, frying fat, etc.) in the meal.
Sugar and hidden sugar should also be avoided in large quantities, especially when treating fatty liver. You should pay attention to the package leaflets, because even yogurts can contain huge amounts of sugar. More than half of regular white sugar contains fructose, which promotes fatty liver.
Fatty liver has long been considered a benign disease that can be completely cured, but if it is not treated in time, it can progress to inflammation, fibrosis or even liver cirrhosis. A scarred liver can no longer be healed, and in Finland the mortality from liver cirrhosis is at the top level in Europe.
The endocannabinoid system in the background of fatty liver
The endocannabinoid system that maintains the body’s balance is found in all mammals and it monitors all the processes going on in the body. Appetite and weight control have both been regulated by the endocannabinoid system for a long time. Behind these seemingly simple functions are numerous processes and events, which, roughly speaking, all functioning endocannabinoid Thanks to the CB1 receptor activated by 2-AG .
Liver cells have been shown to produce both known cannabinoids , anandamide and 2-AG, to be produced and the liver is self-sufficient in terms of them. According to animal experiments, 2-AG levels in the liver increase due to alcohol, and anadamide levels increase with fatty food. Both anandamide and 2-AG have been shown to have anti-scarring effects. (3,4,5)
Of the cannabinoid receptors, only CB1 is expressed in a healthy liver. In cases caused by both alcohol and fatty food, increased CB1 receptor levels have been noted, but the CB2 receptor appears in the liver only when the liver has cirrhosis. (5)
CBD oil for fatty liver
The use of the CBD oil the effect on fatty liver has been studied quite a bit as such, but CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects, as well as its antioxidant properties, are properties that may lead to some relief. As fatty liver is a completely curable disease, its primary and most important treatment is definitely reducing alcohol consumption and reducing body weight through diet and exercise, depending on which is the problem in the first place.
CBDhas been found to have an effect on preventing diet-induced liver damage by reducing the accumulation of lipids in tissues. CBD also reduces the activation of inflammation and the presence of inflammatory cytokines (6).
CBD also has antioxidant properties that have been shown to alleviate oxidative stress. Alcohol and high-fat food increase the production of reactive oxygen species and CBDThe antioxidant properties of (6)
Fatty liver is a very common disease that can be cured if it is detected early enough. Depending on the genes, it is very easy to take care of the health of the liver, because the basis of its well-being is mostly healthy lifestyles.
The endocannabinoid system has its own roles in the liver and also in the background of liver health and has been found to be completely self-sufficient in terms of endocannabinoid production. The use of CBD oil to support the treatment of fatty liver is still quite a gray area, but probably in the future, research will be focused on the utilization of cannabinoids due to their versatile therapeutic effects.
- Mustajoki P.. 2021. Health Library Duodecim. Fatty liver. https://www.terveyskirjasto.fi/dlk00070. Referred on 11/14/2022.
- Mervaala E., Tarnanen K. and Yki-järvinen H.. 2020. Fatty liver disease (Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). https://www.kaypahoito.fi/khp00132. Referred on 11/14/2022.
- Purohit V., Rapaka R. and Shurtleff D.. 2010. Role of Cannabinoids in the Development of Fatty Liver (Steatosis). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2844512/. Referred on 11/14/2022
- Alswat KD. 2010. The Role of Endocannabinoids System in Fatty Liver Disease and Therapeutic Potentials. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Alswat%20KA%5BAuthor%5D. Referred on 11/14/2022.
- Tam J., Liu J., Mukhopadhyay S., Cinar R., Godlewski G. and Kunos G.. 2011. Endocannabinoids in Liver Disease. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Jan %20J% 5BAuthor%5D. Referred on 11/14/2022.
- Jiang X., Gu Y., Huang Y., Zhou Y., Pang N., Luo J., Tang Z., Zhang Z., and Yang L.. 2021. Frontiers of pharmacology. CBD Alleviates Liver Injuries in Alcoholics With a High-Fat High-Cholesterol Diet Through Regulating the NLRP3 Inflammasome–Pyroptosis Pathway. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2021.724747/full. Referred on 11/14/2022.