Morgan Spurlock made his documentary “Super-Size Me” by eating nothing but food from McDonald’s for a month. The consequences? His weight and LDL cholesterol zoomed up, he felt lethargic and depressed and, said one of his doctors, his liver turned into pate. Now, that might not be the standard definition of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, but it sure paints a vivid and accurate picture of a condition that afflicts around 30 percent of Americans.
NAFLD is the infusion of liver cells with fat, caused by insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, elevated triglycerides and poor nutrition. You see, as you put on weight, your body becomes insulin-INSENSITIVE. Then you can’t use insulin efficiently to shuttle sugar into your cells for energy. Instead, sugar gets stored in the liver as fat -- and you’ve got NAFLD. Although most folks with fatty liver don’t develop cirrhosis or liver cancer, the risk is there.
Making lifestyle changes, such as avoiding fast food (remember Morgan!), losing weight and becoming less insulin-resistant often can reverse fatty liver. Now researchers at the University of Haifa found that there’s another way to restore liver health: Doing several sets of resistance exercises using your arms, chest and legs for 40 minutes, three times a week. It measurably reduces the fat content of the liver by reducing inflammation and lowering blood sugar levels. So get some stretch bands and hand weights, and let your liver live.
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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.