Belly Fat and Liver Fat Increase Risk of Heart Disease

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.

Do I Really Need a Prescription Fish Oil?

Like many people, you might have questions about those ads you’ve seen on TV or in magazines for a prescription fish oil pill called Lovaza. Questions like: Do I really need a prescription for fish oil? And is Lovaza really better than a fish oil supplement I can buy at my health food store? The answer to both questions is a resounding no. In fact, an independent comparison found that there’s nothing in Lovaza that can’t be found in many quality non-prescription fish oils that are typically less expensive and certainly more convenient.

Here are the facts:

  • Lovaza contains only 840mg combined of beneficial EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil—about 200mg less than the leading maximum-strength fish oil supplement.
  • Lovaza costs approximately $180 dollars for 120 pills (a 1-month supply)—about $150 more than the leading maximum-strength fish oil supplement.
  • The recommended daily dose of Lovaza is 4 per day. Many non-prescription fish oil supplements come in an easier one-a-day dose.
  • Lovaza capsules are not enteric-coated. (In vitro studies show 3X more Omega-3 absorption with enteric-coated capsules when compared with non-coated capsules.)
  • Lovaza does not include lipase, an essential fat-splitting enzyme necessary for complete oil digestion in the body.
  • Lovaza soft-gel capsules are made from both pork- and beef-derived gelatin. Many leading non-prescription fish oil supplements use superior fish-derived gelatin capsules.
  • Lovaza fish oil capsules are unflavored, while many non-prescription supplements include natural orange or lemon flavor to help lessen fishy aftertaste.
  • Lovaza does not include any added beneficial ingredients such as vitamin D₃.

In fact, the only thing that sets Lovaza apart from the leading maximum-strength fish oil supplement is that it has been approved by the FDA to “treat a specific condition” (i.e. high triglycerides). However, the majority of premium non-prescription fish oils undergo strict purification processes to ensure purity, potency and freshness and are guaranteed safe and effective by International Fish Oil Standards.

About the Benefits of Fish Oil…

Experts like the American Heart Association agree that taking a daily fish oil supplement is one of the best things you can do for your body, since fish-derived Omega-3 fatty acids help to nourish active tissues in the body like those found in the heart, brain, eyes and joints. Not only that, but beneficial Omega-3s help with digestion and bowel regularity, and current research links a diet rich in Omega-3 fats with enhanced memory, mood, and even improved fat metabolism.