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Why the “liver attack” does not exist

Why the liver attack does not exist
Why the liver attack does not exist

Stomach aches, nausea, acid reflux, bloating … With their string of hearty and well-watered meals, interspersed with chocolates and other sweets, the holiday season can sometimes turn into a nightmare. Who has never been the victim of the famous “liver attack”?

However, the medical textbooks do not mention this term which, moreover, seems to be used only in France. And for good reason: the liver is not involved in any of these symptoms, which are generally the manifestation of indigestion.

“What everyone takes for liver problems are, in general, only transient imbalances in digestion, due to various food excesses,” says Professor Didier Samuel, head of the hepatology unit at Paul Brousse hospital (Villejuif) and author of The liver crisis does not exist! (Marabout editions, 2017). “It’s a bit like saying” I feel sick to my heart “to say that we are feeling nauseous: in reality, the heart is not the seat of pain.”

“What everyone takes for liver problems is, in general, only transient digestion imbalances, due to various dietary excesses.”

The machine is racing

Normally, during a reasonable meal, the stomach and intestines communicate constantly with the brain to keep it informed of their filling level. Quickly, this one will send signals of satiety. But after eating too much, the system gets carried away. Food accumulates in the stomach: this is called gastric embarrassment. Downstream, the intestines have trouble keeping up. In addition to bloating and abdominal pain, “the brain will send warning signals that will cause nausea, for example,” said Professor Samuel.

The liver is a bit of the hero of history: it is responsible for cleaning up toxins, regulating (in part) blood sugar and storing excess fat. Obviously, during the holidays, this metabolic factory is running at full speed. “If these excesses remain very punctual, the liver is not affected,” said the hepatologist, however. But when large meals are repeated too frequently, it ends up accumulating fat. ”

A situation which, in the long term, risks causing fatty liver disease, or so-called “fatty” liver disease, which in turn can progress to cirrhosis, or in extreme cases, cancer. “It’s a process that takes place over years, not in 15 days,” said the doctor.

The illusion of detox cures

As you can see, a small one-time excess is not a problem for the liver. “When that happens, you just need to eat fewer calories in the next few days, drink only water – because alcohol also damages the liver – and do some physical exercise,” advises Professor Samuel.

In The Liver Crisis Doesn’t Exist !, the doctor warns of the alleged detox cures supposed to purify this organ. “Lemon juice, artichokes, fasting … All of that has not been shown to be effective. There is no point in responding to excess with excess. On the other hand, doing a cure can help people to be more careful about what they eat. ”

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