Liver scarring is associated with consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), according to a study at Duke University. The condition, dubbed non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is present in about 30% of all American adults. Until recently, it was considered rare.
Fatty liver disease, whether alcohol-related or not, is a dangerous condition that indicates an overworked and damaged liver. It can lead to cirrhosis, hepatitis, liver cancer, and liver failure.
Manal Abdelmalek, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology/Hepatology, Duke University Medical Center, led the study’s research team. They analyzed questionnaires given to 427 adults after liver biopsies showing NAFLD. The questionnaires asked about their consumption of fructose-containing beverages. They found a correlation between severity of disease and amount of HFCS consumption.
Only 19% of people with NAFLD reported no HFCS consumption in beverages. 52% drank 1 to 6 servings, and 29% drank HFCS-containing beverages daily. The research not only documented a link between HFCS consumption and liver disease, but also demonstrated that higher consumption is related to worse disease, including liver fibration (scarring).
Of her results, Abdelmalek stated:
Our findings suggest that we may need to go back to healthier diets that are more holistic. High fructose corn syrup, which is predominately in soft-drinks and processed foods, may not be as benign as we previously thought.
Perhaps mainstream medicine has believed that HFCS is benign, but more progressive alternative medicine has taken a far dimmer view.
Abdelmalek further stated:
There is an increasing amount of data that suggests high fructose corn syrup is fueling the fire of the obesity epidemic, but until now no one has ever suggested that it contributes to liver disease and/or liver injury.
We need to do formal studies that evaluate the influence of limiting or completely discontinuing high fructose corn syrup from one’s diet and see if there are health benefits from doing so.
While modern medicine may not know whether discontinuing HFCS will be beneficial, those of us outside the mainstream can answer that question now. Of course it’s beneficial! To begin with, it will stop the assault on the liver, preventing much worsening of the condition. That’s obvious.
A bit less obvious, but still well known, is that the liver is a self-regenerating organ. When damaged, it can heal itself. It is, in fact, a miracle of self-healing. So, in all likelihood, not only can the damage progression be stopped, it can also be reversed by the simple tactic of a healthy diet free of HFCS and other harmful ingredients, like chemical food additives and modern medicine’s drugs, most of which are liver destroyers.
There is no mainstream medical treatment for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease—a fact for which we can be grateful, since it means that they can’t promote a drug to treat it. We can only hope that the Duke study isn’t a precursor of or excuse for the development of drugs to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.