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Belly fat is usually detectible—people generally have a good idea if they tend to accumulate fat in their midsection, as opposed to their hips and bottom. But how do you know if your liver is fat? Well, abdominal fat and liver fat often go hand in hand. In fact, fat from the liver can be sent to the belly, and vice versa. Often, an underlying feature of both of these is inflammation, which may come from the gut. Nutrients and other substances—including fat, toxins and inflammatory compounds—are absorbed from the small intestine and travel straight to the liver via the portal vein.

A recent study found that obese individuals with high amounts of abdominal fat and liver fat are at increased risk for heart disease. The researchers found that liver fat is strongly associated with increased secretion of very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), which contain the highest amounts of triglycerides, known to increase heart disease risk.

It has long been known that abdominal fat can be dangerous. The increasing knowledge about the dangers of liver fat adds to the story, as these two go hand in hand, each setting the body up to be more susceptible to metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Together, belly and liver fat mean trouble.

Both liver and abdominal fat can be reduced with exercise and weight loss. These steps, in addition to addressing any underlying gut dysfunction that may be contributing inflammation to the liver, can help reverse these metabolic precursors to heart disease. Gut imbalance may be addressed by taking probiotics, the beneficial bacteria naturally found in the gut.

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You know the routine: Your clothes are dirty. You throw them in the washing machine. They come out clean…right? But what if your laundry detergent is hiding a dangerous toxin that can take a serious toll on your health and the health of your family? A recent study conducted by David Steinman of the Green Patriot Working Group asked that very question and found that of the 20 most popular laundry detergent brands (both conventional and “natural” products), 13 contained detectable traces of a toxic byproduct called 1,4-dioxane.

A known carcinogen (cancer-causing agent), 1,4-dioxane is used in many popular cleaning and personal care products and has been linked to liver disease, cancer and other serious health conditions in humans. However, it is one of thousands of contaminants not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the study, the conventional brands were the worst offenders—with Procter and Gamble’s Tide® topping the list at 55 parts per million (ppm)—but even a couple of the natural brands were not entirely free of 1,4-dioxane. If anything, the information serves as a wake-up call for consumers nationwide to pay close attention to what might be hiding in the products we use every day.

Curious about your detergent? See the complete results of the study here. And be sure to visit Brenda Watson’s Detox Strategy for simple tips on how to reduce your exposure to harmful toxins.

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‡This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. The material on this page is for consumer informational and educational purposes only, under section 5 of DSHEA.

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