The human liver is a large internal organ located on the right side of the abdomen weighing about 3 pounds, reddish-brown in color, and rubbery to the touch. The liver is normally imperceptible because it is protected by the rib cage.
According to the most recent data from the world health organization, 6,560 persons died from liver disease in Ghana in 2018 accounting for 3.27 percent of all deaths.
The liver, being the largest internal organ, performs over 5,000 different functions. It facilitates the conversion of food to energy, the elimination of waste from the body, the secretion of salivary and sweat glands, and the production of hormones that regulate the body’s development, growth, sleep mode, and sexual functions. In addition, the liver removes or neutralizes toxins from the blood, produces immune agents to control infection, and removes germs and bacteria from the blood. It produces proteins that regulate blood clotting as well as bile, which aids in the absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins.
Liver diseases include viral hepatitis, fatty liver, alcoholic liver disease, Cirrhosis, cholangitis, liver failure, liver cancer, autoimmune liver disease, and liver fibrosis. The most common and early symptoms of liver diseases may include but are not limited to Fatigue, Nausea, Loss of appetite, Diarrhea, Vomiting blood, and Blood in the stool. As liver diseases advance, symptoms become more severe to include: Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), Extreme tiredness, confusion, and Fluid buildup in the abdomen and extremities (arms and legs).
Fortunately, New research from a germane research center: Helmholtz Zentrum München sheds light on what happens at the cellular level when we become hungry. They were able to demonstrate, in collaboration with the German Center for Diabetes Research and the German Cancer Research Center, that when a person is denied food, a specific protein is produced that resets the body’s normal body function. The research concludes that calorie restriction, such as that found in intermittent fasting can help to reverse many metabolic and liver diseases.
The researchers examined differences in liver cell genetic activity caused by fasting. They have been able to demonstrate, using s transcript arrays, that the gene for the protein GADD45 was frequently read differently depending on the nutrition: the greater the hunger, the more frequently the cells produced the molecule, whose name stands for ‘Growth Arrest and DNA Damage-inducible. The molecule has been previously associated with the repair of genetic information and the cell cycle, rather than with metabolic biology, as the name suggests.
Intermittent fasting alternates between fasting and eating regularly. According to the research, intermittent fasting can help you manage your weight and even prevent – or even reverse – liver diseases. Many diets concentrate on what to eat, but intermittent fasting focuses on when to eat. You only eat at certain times of the day when you practice intermittent fasting. Fasting for a set number of hours per day or eating only one meal a couple of days per week can help your body burn fat, neutralize toxins, utilize the body stored nutrients, resets the healing ability of the body, and clear the liver.
Intermittent fasting can be done in a variety of ways, but they all rely on selecting regular times to eat and fast. For example, you could try eating only eight hours a day and fasting the rest of the time. You could also choose to eat only one meal per day two days per week. Before beginning intermittent fasting, consult with your doctor. Once you have his or her approval, the actual practice is straightforward. You can choose a daily approach that limits daily eating to one six- to eight-hour period per day. For example, you could try 16/8 fasting, which involves eating for eight hours and fasting for sixteen. Williams supports the daily routine, claiming that most people find it easy to stick to this pattern in the long run.
Another known method, the 5:2 diet, entails eating regular 500–600 calorie meals for five days a week and fasting for two days on one meal a day. As an example, suppose you decide to eat normally every day of the week except Mondays and Thursdays, which are your one-meal days. The recommended maximum number of days for fasting with healing intentions is two days since Fasting for longer periods, such as 24, 36, 48, and 72 hours, is not necessarily better for you and maybe dangerous for the body. Going without food for an extended period may encourage your body to begin storing more fat in response to starvation.
Water, fruits, and zero-calorie beverages such as green tea are permitted when you are not eating. Especially for those who like to do the third type of fasting. This method involved eating for six days a week and feeding only on water and fruits for a day. This method is helpful for busy professionals as well as persons who do not yet have clearance from their health professionals on their ability to fast for healing purposes. Among the fruits and that can be eating during the fasting period include watermelons, fresh Coconut juice, carrot juice, avocado, and pears.
Other health benefits of intermittent fasting that have been discovered thus far in research include:
1.Memory and thinking: Intermittent fasting improves working memory in animals and verbal memory in adults, according to research.
2.Cardiovascular health: Intermittent fasting increased blood pressure, resting heart rate, and other heart-related measurements.
3.Physical ability. Fasting for 16 hours resulted in fat loss while maintaining muscle mass in young men. Mice fed on alternate days had greater endurance when running.
4.Obesity and diabetes: Intermittent fasting prevented obesity in animal studies. In six brief studies, obese adult humans lost weight by fasting intermittently.
Some people try short-term fasting to lose weight, while others use it to treat chronic conditions like liver diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol, or arthritis. However, intermittent fasting is not suitable for everyone. I recommend you should first consult with your primary care physician before embarking on any type of fasting since he will provide professional guidance as to the right quantity and frequency depending on your medical records he has.
The following should avoid attempting intermittent fasting:
1.Children and teenagers under the age of 18.
2.Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding babies.
3.People who have diabetes or blood sugar issues.
4.Those who have had an eating disorder in the past.
It’s important to remember that intermittent fasting can have different effects on different people. Consult your doctor if you develop unusual anxiety, headaches, nausea, or other symptoms after beginning intermittent fasting.
RICHARD ANANE APPIAH
Lifestyle Medical Practitioner