Treatment Guide

Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Gluten

non alcoholic cirrhosis fatty liver celiac disease gluten
This is super important for anyone with fatty liver disease!

While we were at Columbia University’s Topics in Gastroenterology, Dr. Steven Lobritto talked about cirrhosis of the liver and how he has actually seen people who were on the liver transplant list heal enough to be taken off once they started a gluten-free diet. That’s right.  People who needed liver transplants – their liver’s were basically done for – healed! I have personally met a man who also recovered during one of our visits to gluten-free support groups across the country.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver is a non-inflammatory hepatic (liver) disorder characterized by degenerative changes in the liver secondary to excessive accumulation of lipid in hepatocytes.

According to research we found for our book, “Recognizing Celiac Disease” 3.4% of people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease have SILENT Celiac Disease. That means they don’t have symptoms.  Most patients DO NOT have gastrointestinal symptoms.

The good news is that studies showed liver enzymes can normalize after 6 months on a gluten-free diet. If you or your family members have non-alcoholic fatty liver (cirrhosis), but have not been tested for celiac disease, get tested and give them this information so they can get tested.  And if they test negative, try the diet anyway because we’ve seen time and time again that the test are NOT 100% accurate.

You can find more information about celiac disease and fatty liver including steps to improve it at the Gluten Free Works Treatment Guide under Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver.


[Updated July 7, 2017]

About John Libonati

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Author Information: John Libonati, SW Florida Publisher, & The Gluten Free Works Treatment Guide.


  1. I find this interesting. I have PBC, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis Liver disease, and under went a Liver transplant back in Nov 2009. If what you are saying is true, why didn’t any of the My Liver Transplant Team along with my gastroenterologist, ever consider any of this in my case? I was given, plenty of medications, but never any alternative choice as to the importance of my diet, other than, no salt, because I retained water so badly, the sicker I became. I was taking massive doses of diuretics,which depleted my potassium, causing more complications, because of low potassium levels. The new liver has been wonderful, but now my daughter, was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and Celiac, and is on a Gluten free diet, she’s using Paleo. Any time she eats gluten, she becomes violently ill, so her diagnoses is very accurate. After reading about Celiac, perhaps with me having PBC which is also an auto immune disease, I should have been on a Gluten Free diet as well. Do you think, I should address this with my Doctors? Just an FYI, I have also started eating gluten free as much as I can. Should I be tested for Celiac, as well as the others in our family. They told be PBC is not genetic, but has a tendency to run in families. ? That’s an oxymoron in my eyes! My Mother also had PBC, she died from complications from the PBC. She had internal bleeding they could not locate, or control for that matter. She was diagnosed, after I was, yet died before me, at only 72. What do you advise, I’m curious as to your suggestions, Thanks in advance for your consideration. Elaine

    • Carmillia Kimmel

      I am not part of this organization. I am an RN who has been living GF for over 20 yrs. I had cirrhosis of the liver since experiencing Epstein-Barr virus at age 19. After going GF my liver enzymes normalized. I now have NAFL. I never connected the two to be associated! I was tested for celiac disease but all blood work was negative including the genetic test. Gut biopsy showed “reminiscent of Sprue” I had almost all of the same symptoms as a celiac including thyroid Cancer, soy allergy, osteoporosis, and too many to mention.

      My advice is Get tested including genetically! A liver is such a scarce thing to be given; treat it well!

  2. My family history is close to Elaine’s. My mom had a liver transplant for PBC and her transplanted liver finally failed. I had elevated liver enzymes and after my mom died I was diagnosed with cd. I’m sure that she had it as she had every sign of it but was never tested. My sisters are gluten intolerant and carry the gene. We all had elevated enzymes that have come down.
    My advice is get tested while still eating some gluten. Even if you don’t have cd, go gluten free.

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