Fasting: Hi everyone Is fasting... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Tippybailey profile image

Hi everyone

Is fasting recommend to lower your Alt and AST levels ? Thanks

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43 Replies

Wouldn’t say fasting is a good idea if you have liver issues full stop - nutrition is crucial. Unless your doctor advises otherwise of course

I’ve been watching you tube from Dr Eric Burg and Dr Jason Fung . It’s very interesting and seems to make sense .

You could find it actually has the opposite effect and raises your liver function results, a healthy Mediterranean style diet has been found to be the most beneficial where fatty liver is concerned.

BLT shared details of the study into this.

Sudden dietary changes such as fasting could actually increase the fat stored in your body as your body will think it is being starved and rather than burning the fat you've got accumulated it will actually hang on to more.


Thank you all for responding I do the Mediterranean diet also

HI Tippybailey,

The damage that caused your fatty liver probably happened over a period of time, talking months/years. It won't suddenly start getting better after a few weeks. Try no to panic, you have a completely reversible condition. Do as advised by medical team and things should start getting better -in time. There are no quick fixes here and its important you provide your body the correct fuel to recover - your your body will enter starvation mode like Katie said (why diets often fail - too drastic a change, and rebounds after etc,) and/or your liver starts to get what it needs from your muscle mass, although that isn't too much of a concern with NAFLD I believe. Have you had advice from your doctor and/or nutritionist as this isn't a one size fits all thing usually - although just about everything you read about liver issues, and I can attest to first hand, eating properly is crucial to recovery.

Tippybailey profile image
Tippybailey in reply to Ubwa

I understand it will take a long time to fix, I’ve been given no information from my GP just to review bloods.

And according to Dr Unwin Liverpool Gp on you tube , Dr Jason Fung . The evidence says your body starts using your stored fat ,it does not go into starvation mode as I always thought . I listened to all the videos and I’m more and more interested in the ways of how fasting and low carb can reverse type 2 diabetes . It’s all new to me but very interesting

Hi Tippy

I think I saw that video a few years ago, but if I recall, neither doctor is a GP or a nutritionist. I think that is what put me off that way of losing weight. Although, I like the idea you are still actively looking for ways to improve your health.

Katie and you both mention a Mediterranean style diet, which I will check out for myself as it sounds like what I need, to go along side my new exercise regime.

Take Care


Tippybailey profile image
Tippybailey in reply to

Have a look on you tube DrDavid Unwin a GP from Liverpool . Good information and interesting .

Tippybailey profile image
Tippybailey in reply to

Check out Dr David Unwin a GP from Liverpool on you tube .. when I say fasting I’m not going days without food . I’m fasting 20 hours after my last meal about 7pm then eating a couple of meals Mediterranean diet food choices. I’ve cut out dairy , sugar, bread , pasta occasionally I eat rice. I eat low carb fruits. I don’t get tired anymore I exercise 5 days a week I’ve joined a gym. I know it’s not a quick fix but it’s a lifestyle change . Some people can eat 2 biscuits, I can’t I eat a packet so for me I need to break food addiction choices that have got me in this state. My doctor has given no advice just repeat bloods in 4 weeks .

I’ve seen those videos. I do fasting and moderate Keto,it’s working for me,great results. 4 months in. I have a scan next week so I’ll post if it’s made any difference to the liver....

Tippybailey profile image
Tippybailey in reply to deanw41

Yes please do that will be interesting

Just be wary, when they say "stored fat" we have to remember that the body's energy stores are its muscles. Thats the reason with late stage cirrhosis that we lose muscle mass.

Fortunately it doesn't look like you are any where near that stage yet and doing more exercise and eating healthily will probably be more than sufficient to achieve what you need to, without the need to go to the extremes of fasting. Just be patient and you'll see the weight drop off in a nice and controlled way that you can sustain long term. Good luck to you.

Tippybailey profile image
Tippybailey in reply to Kristian

I’ve no idea what’s what it’s all new to me Ultrasound showed moderate fatty liver

bloods ALT 144 AST 75

Doctor has not given me any info only said repeat bloods in a month. I’m just googling everything to try and find knowledge 🥲

Kristian profile image
Kristian in reply to Tippybailey

Its cool. We've all been in the same position at some stage. To be honest we're all still a little clueless too, lol.

I think you're approaching things in the right way. You dont yet have a formal diagnosis but eating healthy and doing the exercise is always going to be a help. Your gp will be able to offer you some good tips but you may find you may have to ask if they don't offering anything straight off.

After transplant I did put a fair bit of weight on, and have now managed to lose it just by eating a bit more sensibly and doing that bit more exercise. The key thing really is doing it in a way you can sustain in the long term. And to be honest its not that difficult to do. You just have to be a little patient with it.

Good luck to you and hope you manage to see the desired results.


Tippybailey profile image
Tippybailey in reply to Kristian

Thank you .. blimey you had a transplant. Hope your alright now

Kristian profile image
Kristian in reply to Tippybailey

Yes, everything is fine here. Its been a complete success so far. A few niggles, but all have been managed.

Tippybailey profile image
Tippybailey in reply to Kristian

Long may good health continue for you .

Hi tippy, I had really good success following Dr Fungs techniques. I hit my weight loss goal which subsequently improved my liver enzymes. And I have been maintaining through the next 9 months. So far so good.

The key thing intermittent fasting did for me was help control my total calories consumed during a day and not mindless snacking after my last meal. Just make sure you have some healthier snacks around for after meals while not in your fasting window, and you'll do great

Thank you that’s interesting. Well done in your success

I do intermittent fasting as well, it has an array of benefits which are great for you. However like many have said it's not always the best option for liver disease, however for fatty liver without any major complications I believe it will be beneficial, pair it with a low carb diet and I cannot see how it wouldn't help reduce fatty liver

Do you know why is not good for fatty liver? I’m trying to learn as much as possible thanks

I would personally say that it is good for fatty liver, I think it wouldn't be good for people with cirrhosis as a result of liver damage is malnutrition so fasting wouldn't be the best option then.

Ultimately though you would be best consulting with a liver specialist who may be able to advise better depending on your results

Trust10 profile image

Hi all, really interesting discussion by you all. Current evidence suggests moderate to low carb diet rather than fasting or keto diets, unless directed by your medical team - I can see that a link to our current guidance has been shared, thank you, I'll attach a link to our booklet which is based on recent evidence and clinical guidelines.

Best wishes


Tippybailey profile image
Tippybailey in reply to Trust10

Well that’s even more confusing, they say carbohydrates and red meat are ok …Who do you believe? And why ? I’m confused

No you should not be fasting under normal circumstances and definately not with liver issues. You would do well to see a dietician who specialises in liver issues and see the information re heathy eating on the british liver trust website.All the best.


Why should you not fast under normal circumstances? And why definitely not with fatty liver ? I’m interested to hear why not .I’m following the Mediterranean diet as advised.

We all fast when we sleep that’s why breakfast is called break fast .

Exactly over night is when you fast, during the day you need to fuel your body in order for your body and brain to function properly. Fasting also slows down your metabolic rate meaning if you were using fasting as a way to lose weight, once you start eating normally again, you will gain weight more quickly and it becomes harder to burn off unwanted calories. Faddy diets are not the way to go. The body needs a healthy balanced diet and regular meals throughout the day including correct amounts of protein, calcium, carbohydrates and vitamins. Yes the Mediterranean diet is great but fasting can lead to severe eating disorders.

Can you please link your research and scientific evidence to back your claims

Intermittent fasting has proven to be a completely effective way of weight loss with an array of benefits, it does not slow down your metabolic rate and your body is still fed energy in the form of fat stores, after all that's why your body deposits excess energy as fat, so it can be used at a later date.

I understand if your opinion is a personal one but you are making a whole host of claims and not providing any evidence to back these up

My "claims " come from the liver specialist dieticians who gave me this information when my late husband was diagnosed with alcoholic cirrhosis, to ensure we were looking after his liver in the best possible way and to avoid muscle wastage. Many other sufferers will back this up as well as the diet information on this liver website.

Maybe cirrhosis liver is different

I'm not going to tell anyone how to eat. Each to his own but also having been a dance and health and fitness instructor, l do know how eating habits can affect the body. But l wish you well in your choices and good health. 💪😀


The reason I posted is because I want to find out people’s opinions of different options / lifestyle changes Thank you for your imput

I agree in regards to cirrhosis that fasting may not be a good option due to what you have mentioned, however you mentioned in normal circumstances and then you listed an array of negatives without any reasoning to back it up.

Intermittent fasting is probably different to the fasting you are thinking of, by simply extending your body's natural fast you can increase several health benefits including growth hormone that can linked to better muscular growth as well as increased fat loss as your body releases ketones during the fast period.

As little as 12 hours begins this process and that's all you need.

Think back to the cavemen times etc, intermittent fasting is closer to the eating schedule they had back then than what we do now.

While intermittent fasting alone will not provide all the benefits you do have to pair it with a healthier lifestyle, intermittent fasting works best with low carb diets or Mediterranean diets.

To say under normal circumstances fasting is not good is bizzare, it is also not a fad diet, Olympic athletes and doctors/dieticians encourage intermittent fasting in their diets.

Under the correct circumstances and using the correct methods intermittent fasting can benefit almost anyone without serious liver issues, even with nafld it can be a useful tool but must always be paired with a healthier lifestyle in general

Infact for many, intermittent fasting is a health change that may be required. Think of people who midnight snack and their body never actually enters a fast because of this.

As I said a simple 12 hour fast can be enough for most beginners while the more experienced may increase this to a 16 or 18 hour fast. Some even go as extreme as 5 days normal eating and 2 days of fasting each week, personally I do not support that extreme and believe that is a fad

However a 12 hour fast is a good starting point for anyone looking to become healthier. By simply stopping eating at 8pm and beginning at 8am you cutout unhealthy snacking routines and actually allow your body to enter a fast, so breakfast actually is what it is named after.

That's my take on it, not a stop eating for several days at a time just allow your body a period of fasting rather than starving yourself

Since this is a liver forum for people with various stages of liver disease, periods of fasting should not be encouraged for the reasons stated by TT2018.

I have not, nor have I encouraged anyone with liver disease to engage in fasting, I have always stated IF YOU HAVE A FORM OF LIVER DISEASE YOU SHOULD CONSULT YOUR SPECIALIST. I have stated that I believe (PERSONAL OPINION) that it may be beneficial for NAFLD, but that is still subject to the persons own choice and advice of their Dr.

This forum also has MANY people on it WITHOUT liver disease who are simply looking at better ways to live and to become healthier following periods of either alcoholic related illness or other types of illness including being overweight, people who have avoided serious diagnosis and people who may have milder forms of liver disease.

However, my issue was simply that you made a very bold statement just because it is your own personal opinion that intermittent fasting is a fad and you made several claims that are quite frankly totally incorrect and have absolutely no scientific backing themselves.

The human body is complex, what works for one may not work for another, scientifically proven is a "fad" statement as what one scientist "proves" another will "disprove" such is the world, when someone says something is good, someone is always bound to come along and completely rip apart their idea because they simply do not agree with it.

The only thing I will 100% agree with is that you should ALWAYS consult your doctor/specialist regarding your diagnosis and diet.

Not everyone with liver disease will have the same symptoms or problems with malnutrition and not everyone with liver disease has advanced stages of it, early stages of NAFLD in particular can be reversed using a better diet or lifestyle changes or both. intermittent fasting while is not a diet, is a form of lifestyle that may be beneficial to certain individuals by promoting healthy weight loss, again, pending discussion with their doctors.

To really understand why intermittent fasting isn't a "fad" you need to understand what intermittent fasting actually involves. It doesn't involve days on end of starvation, I have said this entire time that it can be a simple 12 hour period WITHOUT food. 8PM to 8AM is hardly a stretch, the majority of healthy people in the world unknowingly are already involved in an intermittent fast. A 12 hour fast ALSO encourages to eat less as it lowers the window where you are allowed to intake food. AGAIN this is not aimed at ANYONE with end stage cirrhosis nor would I encourage anyone to just take up intermittent fasting with serious liver disease. I have said all along that consultants/doctors should be questioned regarding the diet and if it will suit them.

You are defending on the basis that everyone with liver disease has end stage and malnutrition, when some people might simply be living with a slightly fatty liver and asking opinions on diets, intermittent fasting should not be entirely ruled out at this stage as it has shown many benefits.

The same diet does not apply to EVERYONE with liver disease, certain stages require certain restrictions, all of which will be discussed by your consultant/doctor and no one should ever fully base their diet on the advice of people on a forum, regardless of what their claimed profession is - everything i have said in defence of intermittent fasting is through my own opinions formed on my own research into the matter, i do not expect anyone to follow my word as gospel, i encourage everyone to do their own research and consult with their doctors to ensure their health choice is a good one.

TT-2018 profile image
TT-2018 in reply to Jebediah454

Eat less, exercise more, that is definitely a scientific fact. If you have a cirrhosis diagnosis, follow the advice of a specialist dietitian, preferably an NHS one.

Google will send you down a rabbits hole. How many fad diets claim to be based on proven medical science?

Tippybailey profile image
Tippybailey in reply to TT-2018

Eat less of the right food choices

TT-2018 profile image
TT-2018 in reply to Tippybailey

Depending upon your diagnosis, you may be surprised about what you are encouraged to eat with end stage, decompensated cirrhosis, whilst you are on a transplant list. A decompensated liver can only store two hours of energy and then will use up energy from your muscles. A nighttime snack is essential.

Reversing fatty liver doesn't require drastic changes like fasting. Reduce salt, sugar and fat intake. High protein is essential.

That’s exactly what I’ve found through researching intermittent fasting

Trust10 profile image

Hi all, thanks for everyone's input - Tippybailey, I hope you found the discussion of value. As some of the debate is becoming a little heated, I am going to close this thread now. Trust10,

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