What works to keep fatty liver inflammation from progressing

Fatty liver driven by obesity is now the most common liver disease worldwide.

Not only can it compromise your liver function, it can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

And if that goes untreated, you’re looking at a progression that can include liver inflammation due to metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis (MASH), liver cirrhosis and even cancer of the liver.

Luckily, scientists at the German Cancer Research Institute have taken a deep dive into the link between metabolic disorder and fatty liver, discovering a dietary trick that not only defeats liver fat, but conquers inflammation and reduces serious risk.

Lowering liver inflammation is a must

The researchers had seen that different types of intermittent fasting lowered liver inflammation. So they decided to focus efforts on the 5:2 FAST specifically to gain an understanding of the mechanisms at work.

They pitted mice who had unlimited access to high-fat/high-sugar foods against mice who were given full access to those same foods but for only five days a week — and received nothing the other two days of the week.

And frankly, it wasn’t even a contest…

Despite the high-calorie diet, mice on the intermittent fasting plan showed fewer signs of liver disease and had lower levels of biomarkers that indicate liver damage.

This resistance to the development of a fatty liver occurred even though the fasting mice ate just as many calories weekly as those who didn’t fast since they immediately ate more at the end of their fasting periods.

According to the researchers, this benefit was due to the fact that fasting increased two molecular players —  the transcription factor PPARα and the enzyme PCK1 0 which work together to increase the breakdown of fatty acids and gluconeogenesis and block the build-up of fats.

Major improvements across the board

And if that weren’t enough, there’s even more good news…

The scientists then decided to test the diet in mice that were already living with chronic liver inflammation due to a poor diet.

Again, eating the 5:2 way was a recipe for success. After four months of 5:2 intermittent fasting, the mice had:

  • Better blood values
  • Less fatty liver
  • Reduced liver inflammation
  • Developed less liver cancer and had fewer cancer foci (microscopic cells) in the liver

“This shows us that 5:2 intermittent fasting has great potential — both in the prevention of MASH and liver cancer, as well as in the treatment of established chronic liver inflammation,” said principal investigator, Mathias Heikenwälder.

Give your liver some love

So if you want to reduce your chances of fatty liver disease, liver inflammation and possibly even liver cancer, embracing the benefits of intermittent fasting could be the answer.

There are different versions, but the 5:2 diet typically involves eating a normal, healthy diet for five days and ‘fasting’ on the remaining two days. If not eating for two days is a little too challenging, some experts recommend simply restricting intake on those two fasting days to 500-600 calories.

This can make the diet easier to stick to over the long run.

Additional tips for supporting your liver include:

  • More protein – Studies have shown that adding more protein to your diet can help reduce liver fat.
  • Resistant starch –Participants who took a resistant starch supplement saw a 40 percent reduction in their liver triglyceride levels compared to those in the control group. They also experienced lower liver enzymes and inflammatory factors associated with NAFLD.
  • Enjoy some cocoa or coffee – In one study, mice treated with cocoa had 28 percent less fat in their livers at the end of the study than the control mice. In another study, people who drank at least three cups of coffee per day, including those who drank only decaf, had lower levels of liver enzymes—an indication of better overall liver health. Coffee also lowered liver cancer risk.
  • Eat broccoli – It contains a compound that boosts levels of a protein important for keeping NAFLD from advancing.

Liver trouble can sneak up on you. Keep an eye out for these strange signs.

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Intermittent fasting protects against liver inflammation and liver cancer – EurekAlert!

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

By Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, with more than 20 years of experience. She has dedicated herself to helping others enjoy life at every age through the use of alternative medicine and natural wellness options. Dr. Schmedthorst enjoys sharing her knowledge with the alternative healthcare community, providing solutions for men and women who are ready to take control of their health the natural way.