Diet for Liver Disease
Alternate Names : Low Protein Diet, Low Sodium Diet
A diet for liver disease provides the vitamins and
minerals needed to stay healthy. It also limits nutrients that will
cause further liver damage.
A healthy liver is like a processing plant. Carbohydrates,
proteins, fats, vitamins,
and minerals all go to the liver where they are broken down and stored. Later,
they are remade into whatever the body needs and carried through the
bloodstream to wherever they will be used.
Even when the liver is damaged, these nutrients still come to the liver after
they have been digested. But, once they arrive, the liver cannot process them
and they build up. This build-up causes more liver damage.
As a result, what a person with liver disease eats is very important. This
diet needs to provide nutrients without causing further harm to the liver.
This type of diet would include:
a limited amount of protein. A
damaged liver cannot process protein very well. This causes a build-up of
ammonia in the bloodstream.
Carbohydrate is the body's energy supply. A healthy liver makes glycogen from
carbohydrate. The glycogen is then broken down when the body needs energy. A
damaged liver can't do this. Without glycogen, more carbohydrate is needed from
the diet to make sure the body has enough energy.
a moderate amount of fat. Fat
provides calories, essential fatty
acids, and fat-soluble vitamins.
a limited amount of fluids and
sodium. Liver damage can cause high blood pressure in the major vein of
the liver. This can result in
ascites, a fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity. Limiting fluids and
sodium can help prevent this.
extra amounts of certain
vitamins and minerals. A
damaged liver has problems storing many vitamins and minerals.
People with liver disease should also seek the guidance from a physician and
registered dietitian, for individualized medical nutrition therapy.