Diet For Liver Disease

Overview & Description

A diet for liver disease provides the vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy. It also limits nutrients that willcause 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 thebloodstream to wherever they will be used.

Even when the liver is damaged, these nutrients still come to the liver afterthey have been digested. But, once they arrive, the liver cannot process themand they build up. This build-up causes more liver damage.

As a result, what a person with liver disease eats is very important. Thisdiet needs to provide nutrients without causing further harm to the liver.This type of diet would include:

  • a limited amount of protein. Adamaged liver cannot process protein very well. This causes a build-up ofammonia in the bloodstream.
  • more carbohydrate.Carbohydrate is the body’s energy supply. A healthy liver makes glycogen fromcarbohydrate. The glycogen is then broken down when the body needs energy. Adamaged liver can’t do this. Without glycogen, more carbohydrate is needed fromthe diet to make sure the body has enough energy.
  • a moderate amount of fat. Fatprovides calories, essential fattyacids, and fat-soluble vitamins.
  • a limited amount of fluids and sodium. Liver damage can cause high blood pressure in the major vein ofthe liver. This can result in ascites, a fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity. Limiting fluids andsodium can help prevent this.
  • extra amounts of certain vitamins and minerals. Adamaged liver has problems storing many vitamins and minerals.
  • People with liver disease should also seek the guidance from a physician andregistered dietitian, for individualized medical nutrition therapy.

    Article type: xmedgeneral