In recent times, liver diseases have become more common than ever before. Experts on the subject link this rise in cases of liver conditions with factors such as increasing levels of obesity across the United States.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is among the prevalent liver complications. Also referred to as liver steatosis, it is a problem is which fats build up in the liver gradually. The disease is also progressive and may worsen over time.
Currently, there are unfortunately no effective treatments for the disease. A person can only manage it by making lifestyle changes. Usually, patients have one or more of the common risk factors such as obesity, metabolic disorders, and high LDL levels.
In order to control the development of NAFLD, it is important to manage these conditions first. In addition, the patients are also advised to have a healthy diet, add any physical activity in their routines, control weight and leave unhealthy habits such as smoking.
However, there is also a new hope for those suffering from the nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. A recent study by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden shows that a compound present in many common foods may help in reducing fat in the liver.
This compound is inorganic nitrate. It is naturally present in the green leafy vegetables that nutritionists and dieticians already advise to consume.
The findings of the study were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Read the study here.
How Was the Study Conducted?
The researchers mainly looked at the effects of adding inorganic nitrate to the common Western diets which typically contain fatty and sugary foods in mice. There were three divisions in the mice. Each group was given a different diet.
The first group was given a diet similar to a normal person’s. The second was fed a diet similar to the usual western diet and the third had the same diet but along with inorganic nitrate supplements.
Since the mice in high-fat diet consumed high-fat and high-sugar food, they had high blood-sugar levels and gained weight. However, the group that received inorganic nitrate supplements did not gain as much fat or weight.
Mattias Carlström, an associate professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Karolinska Institutet and the corresponding author of the paper says:
“When we supplemented with dietary nitrate to mice fed with a high-fat and sugar Western diet, we noticed a significantly lower proportion of fat in the liver.”
Additionally, the mice also had comparatively better insulin sensitivity. They also did not have high blood pressure problems.
What Is the Conclusion?
Many studies on the similar subject, as explained by the researchers, have shown dietary nitrate’s ability to protect from metabolic disorders. For example, have a diet with green leafy veggies may protect from type 2 diabetes.
Research also shows that higher consumption of veggies and fruits leads to better cardiovascular function and general health.
According to a theory put forward by the researchers of this study, such diseases have a link due to the similarity in their developments. Oxidative stress affects nitric oxide signaling which in turn has a negative impact on cardiometabolic health.
Conclusively, the researchers state that further research is needed for potential treatment of NAFLD and similar conditions. But people can cut down the risk of developing it or slow its progression by consuming enough green leafy vegetables on a daily basis.