Q: My doc has told me I have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. What can I do to get rid of it? - Gene D., Boston
A: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects 25% to 30% of Americans. Because of diet, obesity and insulin resistance in the muscles, they have more fat lodged in their liver than is healthy (over 5% to 10% of its weight). As a result, fatty liver disease increases the risk for Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and disruption of the gut microbiome -- which is associated with a roster of problems, from depression and diabetes to some cancers and irritable bowel syndrome. For 7% to 30% of folks with NAFLD, the condition progresses to what is called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH, going from no symptoms to liver damage. If that happens to you, Gene, you're then at risk for all the associated health problems that causes.
No medication can reverse NAFLD. The only solution is to make nutritional changes, lose weight, enjoy black coffee and avoid alcohol. And a new study in the journal Gut shows which nutritional changes are most effective. Researchers found that eating what they call the Green Mediterranean Diet for 18 months can reduce fat in your liver by nearly 40%. In this study, the conventional Mediterranean diet decreased it by less than 20%.
A G-Med Diet is vegetable-centered, uses healthy fats like olive oil and strongly discourages eating red and processed meats. But it also calls for the daily intake of an ounce of walnuts, three to four cups of green tea and three ounces of a frozen shake made with duckweed (also called Mankai), which is high in bioavailable protein, iron, B12 and various other nutrients and polyphenols. It was the addition of these superfoods that doubled the effectiveness of the diet.
So give that a try (talk to your doc first), and for more information on reversing fatty liver, we recommend the book "Skinny Liver" by Kristin Kirkpatrick.
Q: I'm 62 and had stage-2 breast cancer. I've completed what appears to be successful treatment. My doctor has put me on aspirin to improve my recovery. Is there any good reason for this? I worry about gastrointestinal bleeding and other side effects. What's your advice? - Kalyn G., Spring Valley, New York
A: Over and over again, aspirin proves to be a remarkable medicine - when used correctly.
- Previous research has found it can help prevent colorectal cancer.
- Harvard University's U.S. Physicians' Health Study found taking 325 mg of aspirin daily reduced the risk of a first heart attack by 44%.
- Another study from 2015 in the Annals of Oncology found that when low dose aspirin is taken over 10 or more years by folks 50 to 56, it reduces the incidence of cancer, heart attack and stroke by 7% in women and 9% in men. The protection extends over a 15-year period.
- Now, a new study from the National Cancer Institute, published in JAMA Open Network, reveals that when taken at least three days a week - it can be a low dose of 75 mg up to a regular dose of 325 mg -- it's associated with a significant increase in survival of certain cancers: 67% for bladder cancer and 75% for breast cancer. That breast cancer news reinforces the findings of at least three previous studies that found taking aspirin decreases breast cancer risk and recurrence.
But the side effects are real - even for low-dose. They include gastric bleeding and ulcers and hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke. That's why we stress that you take a half a glass of warm water before and after every aspirin to speed up the dissolve. And add a 200 mg tablet of bovine colostrum to the regimen. Data indicates that this obliterates the side effects of NSAIDs on the GI tract. If you follow these protective steps you should be able to gain aspirin's benefits without much risk.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen at youdocsdaily(at sign)sharecare.com.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.