Fatty Liver Disease & Tylenol / Paracetamol: Can You Take It? [Answered]

When it comes to pain relief for fatty liver, our options are limited. And when it comes to Tylenol or Paracetamol or acetaminophen in general, you might receive conflicting information.

Today, I am addressing this issue by bringing you the answer to this important question: is Tylenol aka Paracetamol safe to take if you are diagnosed with a fatty liver disease?

Taking paracetamol is considered safe for those with a fatty liver, but it is associated with elevation of liver transaminases (which is a marker for liver injury). An overdose of Tylenol can lead to severe hepatoxicity and even liver failure, especially in individuals with preexisting liver disease.

[Sources: 1, 2, 3]

NOTE: Tylenol, Paracetamol and acetaminophen are basically the same thing. The first two are brand names, while the latter is the actual active ingredient in the pills.

Now, back to today’s topic and the safety of acetaminophen for liver disease, it’s correct to conclude that it’s best not to take it if you don’t really need it.

However, you shouldn’t just suffer and stay in pain either – as long as you take a correct dose of it, as recommended by your doctor or a professional health specialist, you should be fine.

Recommended Dosage for Fatty Liver Patients

According to one of the studies I linked to above (this one), for patients with chronic liver disease, it is recommended that the daily intake of Paracetamol shouldn’t be greater than 2-3 grams per day, including long term usage.

This is actually pretty much, as it translates into a maximum 4-6 Tylenol pills per day, as each pill usually has 500mg acetaminophen. (Make sure to double check this information on your specific product!)

But this maximum recommended dosage is actually good news for those suffering from NAFLD aka MASLD. If you have a terrible headache, for example, in most cases a single pill will be enough to get you rid of it.

This reduced dosage (one pill to a maximum of 4 per day) helps mitigate the risk of liver injury, as acetaminophen’s hepatotoxic effects are dose-dependent.

Note that while staying within these limits generally prevents liver injury, it is advisable not to take Tylenol every day if you have a fatty liver, as the toxic byproducts can accumulate over time.

But in general, the effects it has – especially on lower doses and when not taken regularly, are not as scary as some might make them seem and sound.

If you want to go even more in depth with this, I have an article dedicated to what painkiller to take for fatty liver disease.

How Tylenol Affects the Liver

Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol and Paracetamol, is metabolized by the liver into a compound that can be toxic to liver cells.

Normally, an antioxidant in the liver, glutathione, neutralizes this harmful effect. However, excessive acetaminophen can deplete glutathione, leading to potential liver damage.

In individuals with liver disease, the liver’s capacity to produce glutathione may already be compromised, making it more susceptible to injury from acetaminophen.

And this is why it’s recommended to keep doses to a minimum and only take it when it’s really needed – and exactly as your doctor recommends you to.

My experience with Paracetamol / Tylenol while having a fatty liver

young woman taking paracetamol

I personally stayed away from Paracetamol and NSAIDs (like Ibuprofen aka Advil or Motrin) after being diagnosed and I think that wasn’t the best route, to be honest.

I get terrible headaches from time to time due to spending too many hours in front of a computer, but I refused to take anything because I was worried of causing additional liver damage.

The result? I couldn’t rest or sleep or function properly due to the headaches which indeed passed eventually, but not as quickly as they would’ve with a single pill.

This definitely didn’t improve my mood and overall mental health – and stress is connected with fatty liver too.

As an alternative, I drank coffee which sometimes helped with the headache… so if you really want to avoid it, you can try it first. But don’t overdo it with coffee either as too much caffeine might cause other problems.

Eventually, when I brought this to my doctor’s attention, she insisted that I should take a pill whenever pain is that bad.

The risks are minimal, according to her, and the benefits are greater. Although I have to admit that she actually recommended Advil for headaches instead of Paracetamol / Tylenol since it has more anti-inflammatory power.

I started doing so and still managed to reverse my fatty liver. So – like with everything related to liver health and especially liver disease, moderation is key.

Final words

In conclusion, both my doctor and the studies mentioned above say that we can take Tylenol or Paracetamol if we have a fatty liver disease, if needed and under the correct dosage.

We shouldn’t take it like its sugar-free candy. But the risks with small doses are minimal, so most health experts – as we’ve seen – recommend taking a pill instead of suffering.

In my case, the risk of having a ruined day and being unable to sleep due to my terrible headaches was worse than potential liver damage (that can be reversed, since we’re not talking about doses that cause irremediable damage).

As a result, I do take medicine such as Paracetamol (as well as Ibuprofen) and I took them even before reversing my fatty liver. Not regularly in my case – maybe one every 2-3 weeks at most, although it was sometimes months in a row without one.

But in order to know for sure how much you should take, you should talk to your doctor and listen to their advice.

Stay safe and pain free! And if you want to learn more about fatty liver and how to cure yours, check out my recommended books about fatty liver.

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