Gut Health

Fatty Liver Disease Starts in Your Gut

Your liver could be in danger… even if you eat well and don’t drink any alcohol.

That danger starts in a surprising place: your gut.

Your gut microbiome contains trillions of bacteria – good and bad. And when your microbiome is out of balance, bad bacteria (pathogens) outnumber good bacteria (probiotics), creating a condition called dysbiosis.

It turns out that gut dysbiosis is a giant step on the way to chronic liver disease. And the longer the gut microbiome remains unbalanced, the more damage those bad bacteria do to the liver.

But you can take an important step to protect your liver today.

By getting your gut microbiome in healthy balance, you can protect your liver and help it repair itself.

Your Liver Does More Than You Think

Right along with your heart and brain, you can’t live without your liver – heck, it’s right there in the name (LIVEr).  That’s why it’s the only organ that can regenerate itself, even if a large portion of it gets injured or damaged by illness.

Most people associate the liver with detoxing, and they’re right – but that’s just one of the more than 500 functions your liver performs every day. Your liver also:

  • cleans your blood and creates clotting proteins
  • produces bile so your body can digest and absorb fats
  • keeps track of immune activity
  • stores “backup” energy (called glycogen) for when your body’s running low
  • helps convert food into energy
  • stores vitamin A (enough for 2 years) and vitamin B12 (enough for 6 years)
  • processes every medication you take
  • creates cholesterol (that your body and brain need to survive)
  • manages hormones

With that immense workload, your liver needs all the support it can get – and it gets a lot of that support from your gut microbiome. But when your microbiome is in dysbiosis, and bad bacteria outnumber good bacteria, it takes a terrible toll on your liver.

In fact, gut dysbiosis plays a huge part in causing one of the most concerning diseases in the world: NAFLD

The NAFLD Epidemic

NAFLD – nonalcoholic fatty liver disease – is the number one cause of chronic liver disease in the world.

At least 40% of American adults and up to 10% of children have NAFLD, even if they don’t know it.

Just like people gain fat on their hips, thighs, and stomachs, internal organs can also accumulate fat. And when the liver contains more than 5% fat cells, that’s considered fatty liver disease. And while it might seem like a fatty liver comes from eating fatty foods, it doesn’t. That kind of fat – mainly triglycerides – comes from extra sugar in the diet, especially high fructose corn syrup.

Here’s the kicker: This silent disease usually doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms, so you may not know that you have it. And even when symptoms (like nausea) show up, it’s very tricky to diagnosis NAFLD correctly.  That can allow the disease to progress. And if it goes far enough, it can cause severe inflammation and scarring on the liver, sometimes bad enough to be life threatening.

Now, scientists believe that there’s no single cause for NAFLD, but new research points to gut dysbiosis (where the gut microbiome contains more bad bacteria than good bacteria) as one of the biggest culprits.

Weird But True: Bad Bacteria + Sugar = Alcohol

Scientists recently uncovered that crazy equation when a man in China regularly got drunk without drinking any alcohol at all. Turns out that bad bacteria in his gut were converting sugar into alcohol – enough to increase his blood alcohol level!

That led the researchers to discover a strain of pathogenic bacteria called Klebsiella pneumonia that can produce alcohol in the gut. They learned that people with NAFLD are ten times more likely to have these bad bacteria in their gut microbiomes. And when the researchers infected mice microbiomes with K. pneumonia, the mice developed fatty livers in just one month… and suffered liver damage in just two months. (Learn more

The Liver-Gut Connection

Your liver and your gut are directly connected by a biological superhighway called the portal vein. In fact, your liver gets 70% of its blood flow straight from your gut, so it’s extra sensitive to what’s going on there.

When your gut microbiome is in healthy balance, and beneficial bacteria (probiotics) outnumber pathogens, your gut sends essential nutrients and compounds through the portal vein. Your liver loves these deliveries, and needs them to stay healthy.

To keep your liver in great shape, beneficial bacteria create:

  • short chain fatty acids such as butyrate(maybe link to JT SCFA post)
  • antioxidants
  • vitamin K2
  • several B vitamins, including choline (which your liver really loves)

But when the gut microbiome is out of balance, the overgrowth of bad bacteria causes inflammation that damages the protective barrier that lines the gut. Those bad bacteria also produce toxins called lipopolysaccharides, or LPS toxins, that escape through the damaged barrier.

Then LPS toxins make their way into the bloodstream – a condition called toxic streaming – and cause problems all throughout the body. And one of their first stops is the liver.

So when dysbiosis and toxic streaming occur, pathogens and their harmful byproducts (including LPS toxins) make their way to the liver along that same direct route – the portal vein. Once they get to the liver, those toxins and bad bacteria can cause liver inflammation and damage, leading to NAFLD

Toxic Streaming Drives NAFLD

The evidence connecting dysbiosis and toxic streaming to NAFLD is piling up quickly. More and more researchers are realizing the enormous role the gut microbiome plays in chronic fatty liver disease… and that rebalancing the microbiome is a key step in stopping and reversing liver damage.

Here’s what we’ve learned from recent clinical trials and animal studies: 

  • LPS toxins (also called endotoxins) plays “an important role” in the progress of fatty liver disease 
  • Patients with fatty liver disease have dysbiosis, and higher levels of LPS toxins are linked to more severe disease 
  • People with NAFLD have higher levels of LPS toxins, and people with circulating LPS toxins are more likely to develop NAFLD 
  • Rebalancing the microbiome to correct dysbiosis in patients with fatty liver disease helps stop toxic streaming, improve liver health, and reduce liver fat 
  • People with gut dysbiosis are more likely to develop NAFLD even when they have no other risk factors (like being overweight or having type 2 diabetes) 
  • Supplementing with targeted prebiotics (special types of dietary fiber that nourish beneficial bacteria) help prevent the development of NAFLD by keeping the protective gut barrier intact and the gut microbiome in healthy balance 

New studies on the connection between toxic streaming and fatty liver disease (not to mention a whole host of other chronic diseases) are being published practically every day.  And they’re virtually all finding that an unbalanced gut microbiome could lead directly to NAFLD.

Tackle Toxic Streaming to Save Your Liver

The only proven way to stop toxic streaming is to get your gut microbiome back in healthy balance… and the best way to do that is with spore probiotics.  Unlike most probiotics you’ll find on the grocery store shelves, spore probiotics reach your gut microbiome alive and ready to work. Once there, they quickly get rid of pathogens and support the growth of a wide variety of beneficial bacteria. 

In fact, a unique blend of spore probiotics was found to reduce LPS toxins by 42%, in a groundbreaking clinical trial. Getting rid of LPS toxins is the first stop on the journey to eliminate toxic streaming for good.

You can find that proven combination of spore probiotics in Just Thrive:

  • Bacillus coagulans, known for reducing inflammation and supporting healthy gut microbiome balance
  • Bacillus clausii, which can resist damage from a variety of common antibiotics to help prevent dysbiosis normally caused by a course of antibiotics
  • Bacillus subtilis, which can produce more 12 protective compounds that kill off bad bacteria so they can’t overload your gut with LPS toxins 
  • Bacillus indicus HU36, known for its unique ability to produce essential B vitamins and antioxidants right in your gut, where your body can most easily use them for protection

Try Just Thrive spore probiotic today to balance your microbiome and protect your liver.