NAFLD and Smoking: Is Smoking Bad for Fatty Liver?

Smoking has been frowned upon for years now and fortunately more and more people manage to say no to cigarettes… but there are still a lot who find it relaxing and enjoy smoking on a daily basis. I used to be a smoker as well, but stopped about eight years ago, well before being diagnosed with a fatty liver. Therefore, I didn’t really look into this too much. But with more and more people asking me if smoking is bad for fatty liver, I did a lot of research on my own and decided to share with you the results.

Before doing the research, I just spent some time thinking about it and I decided that it is indeed a good idea to stop smoking if you have been diagnosed with a fatty liver. Even though we usually believe that it’s the lungs that are affected by cigarettes, that’s not true although probably our lungs are the ones that suffer the most. However, the smoke that we inhale is filled with toxins and since the liver is responsible with removing most toxins from our bodies, you can easily spot the exclamation marks here.

But was I right to assume that smoking is bad for fatty liver (and the liver in general)? It appears that, unfortunately, I was!

Although there are very few medical studies made regarding fatty liver and smoking, the general consensus in the medical world seems to be that indeed even a few cigarettes per day can harm a sick liver a lot. One of the studies that I came upon dates from 2010 and was only made on rats. (You can read more about this study here). It proved that obese rats suffering from fatty liver who were exposed to cigarette smoke (2 cigarettes per day, 5 days per week for 4 weeks) showed an increase in severity of their NAFLD. The study concluded: “Cigarette Smoke causes oxidative stress and worsens the severity of NAFLD in obese rats. Further studies should assess whether this finding also occurs in patients with obesity and NAFLD.”

Apart from that, various medical sources claim that indeed smoking is bad for a liver that’s already suffering from a disease and fatty livers are included here as well. My original assumption, that the toxins from the smoke inhaled from cigarettes, passes through the liver, therefore adding extra stress and harming it more seem to be confirmed by experts in the field as well.

But it’s not just the toxins that matter now. Apparently, cigarette smoke – especially the Nicotine that cigarettes have – can also be connected to high levels of fat in our blood. Smoking causes our blood vessels to constrict, raising blood pressure and the levels of fat in the body, increasing the risk of other health problems such as increased blood pressure, heart attack or stroke. If this doesn’t seem to be connected with the liver – it is because it’s the liver that produces cholesterol and a sick liver has an impaired ability to produce both the good and the bad cholesterol that have to be balanced in our bodies.

Finally, it is known that smoking has a carcinogenic effect and even though I wasn’t able to find any studies linking smoking – or its carcinogenic effects – to the liver itself, I believe that it’s always better to play it safe and consider the worst. And remember: since your liver is already sick, it is more sensitive to harmful substances and behaviors than a healthy one is.

Since I did smoke in the past and managed to quit, I know how difficult it is to stop. But I can assure you that once you get past that horrible first stage – which lasts for 2 to 4 weeks – you will be so happy with yourself for managing to quit harming yourself by smoking. You will feel much, much better in all areas and you will see immediate improvements in your overall health. Plus, it probably helps you a lot in your fight to reverse happy liver, so it’s a win on all fronts. It is difficult, I know, but it has to be done. You are strong enough to do it so don’t waste time and just stop. For your health. For your happiness. For giving you a lot more time to spend with your loved ones!

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