Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Liver Failure Diet

It is important to follow a healthy diet if you have cirrhosis.

Liver Disease Diet
Malnutrition is a major problem for most cirrhotic patients. A special liver diet restricts total protein, is low in fat and high in carbohydrates. Protein is usually restricted to about 70 gm per day. Further protein restriction may be needed in severe cases. Adequate carbohydrates help the liver cells regenerate.

If ascites is present, sodium must be restricted to no more than 2 grams per day. In some cases, sodium blood levels can drop due to fluid retention. In this case, fluids should be restricted to less than 1 liter per day.

Other diet tips:

  • Eat quality fats: use virgin olive oil and other unsaturated, low-cholesterol fats
  • Eat enough dietary fiber: whole grains are best
  • Check with your doctor about supplementing your diet with B vitamins. Some people may benefit from these supplements.

Key Dietary Recommendations for Chronic Disease Prevention
Energy (calories)to maintain BMI < 25
Total fats< or = to 30% of total daily calories
Saturated fats< 7% of total daily calories
Polyunsaturated fats< 10% of total daily calories
Monounsaturated fats< 13% of total daily calories
Cholesterol< or = to 300 mg per day
Dietary fiber25-30 grams per day
Fiber type3:1 insoluble to soluble fiber
Sodium< or = to 1,500 mg per day
Calcium 9-24 yrs1,200-1,500 mg per day
Calcium 25-50 yrs1,000 mg per day
Calcium 51-65 yrs1,200 mg per day
Calcium >65 yrs1,500 mg per day
Vitamin D 9-50 yrs200 IU per day
Vitamin D 51-70 yrs400 IU per day
Vitamin D >70 yrs600 IU per day
Folic acid400 micrograms (ug) per day
Fruits & vegetables5-7 servings per day

Continue to Liver Failure Drugs

Last Updated: Dec 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Liver Failure References
  1. Levitsky J, Mailliard ME. Diagnosis and therapy of alcoholic liver disease. Semin Liver Dis. 2004 Aug;24(3):233-47. [15349802]
  2. Tome S, Lucey MR. Review article: current management of alcoholic liver disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2004 Apr 1;19(7):707-14. [15043511]
  3. Wakim-Fleming J, Mullen KD. Long-term management of alcoholic liver disease. Clin Liver Dis. 2005 Feb;9(1):135-49. [15763233]
  4. Walsh K, Alexander G. Alcoholic liver disease. Postgrad Med J. 2000 May;76(895):280-6. [1077528]
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