Can you fast your way out of fatty liver disease?

Yesterday, I talked to you about the lethal dangers of high triglycerides — even when those levels are within the “normal” range.

But high triglyceride levels don’t just affect your heart health. They’re also one of the first signs of fatty liver disease. Which is a potentially deadly problem all by itself.

As I mentioned, avoiding sugar and simple carbs — which covers basically any white food, (except cauliflower) is one easy and effective strategy to control triglycerides. (And by extension, to avoid fatty liver.)

But today, I’d like to talk about another shockingly simple, drug-free solution: fasting.

According to new research by a team of German scientists, short periods of restricted calorie intake change the genetic activity of liver cells. More specifically, it activates a gene linked to the production of a particular protein called GADD45β.

GADD45β is responsible for repairing damaged DNA. (Which might be one explanation for why fasting is emerging as an all-natural anti-aging solution.) But as it turns out, this molecule also has a hand in modulating your liver’s fatty acid absorption.

In laboratory studies, mice without the gene were more prone to fatty liver disease. But when the scientists restored this protein, it normalized the liver’s fat levels and corrected sugar metabolism.

Similarly, low GADD45β levels in humans correlate to higher levels of both blood sugar and liver fat. But these researchers concluded that fasting stresses liver cells just enough to trigger the release of GADD45β — generating higher levels as hunger increases.


Intermittent fasting already has a solid reputation for its ability to fight diabetes and heart disease. So I’m not surprised researchers are discovering potential benefits against fatty liver, too.

I’ve always recommended short fasts to my patients as a simple and effective form of detox. I even fast once a month myself. Just 24 to 48 hours, with plenty of water, is all it takes — and in my experience, that’s a reasonable commitment for just about anyone.

The payoff, however, is nothing short of extraordinary.