Diana Gifford-Jones

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Worried about having too many alcoholic drinks during the coronavirus pandemic? Think you’re on the way to liver cirrhosis? If so, think again and wonder whether you are instead developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). It can lead to cirrhosis and possibly liver cancer. A report from the University of California says NAFLD is now the most common liver disorder in North America. So how do unripe apples decrease the risk of this growing threat?

Today, it’s estimated that worldwide 25 percent of adults have NAFLD. And if you are obese, nine out of ten obese people, suffer from this condition. Researchers report that between 2000 and 2010 liver cancer associated with NAFLD soared tenfold. The result? It’s fast becoming the major reason for liver transplant.

NAFLD has little or no symptoms. Some liver fat is normal. But when fat passes the 5-10 percent level, it’s considered a fatty liver.

Apple-shaped people who store fat around the waist are more likely to develop NAFLD than those who are pear-shaped and accumulate fat around the hips. And those who have Type 2 diabetes are also more prone to NAFLD.

The problem is that the accumulation of fat in the liver and other abdominal organs, known as visceral fat, is accompanied by inflammation. This can cause scar tissue leading to cirrhosis and sometimes liver cancer.

The first sign of NAFLD is when blood tests show abnormal liver function. Other tests such as an MRI or liver biopsy can confirm the diagnosis.

What a tragedy that so many people suffer from NAFLD when it’s a lifestyle disease that could be avoided. Remember the Gifford-Jones Law that one problem leads to another and another. In this case obesity leads to increased visceral fat, then to cirrhosis and possibly liver malignancy. It’s a terrible price to pay for consuming too many calories.

So what can you do? The best decision is to purchase a scale and step on it daily. This means also getting smart about reducing calories and exercising. According to the American Gastroenterology Association, losing one to two pounds a week along with regular exercise is the answer. This will help to lower liver enzymes, decreasing fatty deposits in the liver.

Using prescription drugs to fight obesity is akin to flashing a roll of bills before a lawyer. There’s a good chance you’ll live to regret it. So what are your options for natural remedies? Look for products like AppleSlim that harness the power of apple polyphenols and other micronutrients to attack visceral fat around the liver and other abdominal organs. Visceral fat is more dangerous than the fat that gathers directly under the skin, as visceral fat increases risk of diabetes, stroke, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. You want a solution that focuses on this kind of fat.

Researchers in Japan have shown that polyphenols extracted from unripe green apples harvested in Central Asia reduced visceral fat by nine percent over 12 weeks in overweight patients compared to a similar group treated with a placebo pill. How does it work? Apple polyphenols block the enzymes that break down fats and glucose allowing them to pass more easily through your body.

Decreasing the amount of visceral abdominal fat has several benefits. Epidemiological studies confirm that polyphenols do promote longevity. Moreover, if you ever require an abdominal operation, having less abdominal fat surrounding the internal organs is a great help for surgeons and decreases the risk.

We all want to live longer and healthier. So keep alcohol in moderation, don’t overeat, and let apples help your liver.

The weekly column by Dr. W. Gifford-Jones has been published for 45 years. The same no-nonsense tradition now continues in a father-daughter collaboration. Sign up at www.docgiff.com to receive their weekly e-newsletter. For comments, email contact-us@docgiff.com.