Some people with liver disease must eat a special diet. This diet helps the liver function and protects it from working too hard.
Proteins normally help the body repair tissue. They also prevent fatty buildup and damage to the liver cells.
In people with badly damaged livers, proteins are not properly processed. Waste products may build up and affect the brain.
Dietary changes for liver disease may involve:
Liver disease can affect the absorption of food and the production of proteins and vitamins. Therefore, your diet may influence your weight, appetite, and the amounts of vitamins in your body. Do not limit protein too much, because it can result in a lack of certain amino acids.
The changes you will need to make will depend on how well your liver is working. Talk to your doctor about the kind diet that is best for you so that you get the right amount of nutrition.
General recommendations for patients with severe liver disease include:
Most of the time you do not have to avoid specific foods.
Talk to your doctor if you have questions about your diet or symptoms.
DeLegge MH. Nutrition in gastrointestinal diseases. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010: chap 5.
Updated by: George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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