Scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago and elsewhere found that alternate-day fasting plus aerobic exercise could reduce liver fat.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition that affects the liver, causing an unhealthy build-up of fat that can lead to liver damage and inflammation.
While there are some medicines that can help treat NAFLD, new and innovative lifestyle strategies are needed to help combat this condition.
A recent study looked at different lifestyle interventions that could help reduce fat build-up in the liver.
The study followed 80 people with obesity and NAFLD, who were randomly assigned to one of four groups for three months. The groups were:
Combination of alternate day fasting (ADF) and moderate-intensity aerobic exercise
No intervention (control group)
Alternate day fasting (ADF) is a type of fasting where you eat a limited number of calories one day, and then eat as much as you want the next day.
The exercise group participated in five sessions per week, each lasting 60 minutes, while the control group did not receive any intervention.
At the end of the three-month study period, the researchers found that the combination group had the most significant reduction in the fat build-up in the liver.
In fact, the combination group’s fat build-up was reduced by 5.48%, which is quite a lot! This reduction was much more than the exercise-only group (whose fat build-up was reduced by only 1.3%) and the control group (whose fat build-up was reduced by only 0.17%).
The researchers also found that people in the combination group lost weight, reduced their fat mass and waist circumference, and lowered their alanine transaminase (ALT) levels, which is a marker of liver damage.
In addition, their insulin sensitivity improved, which means their body was better able to regulate blood sugar levels.
Overall, this study suggests that a combination of alternate-day fasting and exercise can be an effective way to reduce fat build-up in the liver and improve other health markers.
While fasting alone or exercising alone may also help, the combination approach seems to have the most significant benefits.
There are several steps you can take to help prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Here are some of the most effective ways:
Maintain a healthy weight: One of the biggest risk factors for NAFLD is being overweight or obese. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can significantly reduce your risk of developing NAFLD.
Follow a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet that is low in sugar, saturated fats, and processed foods can help reduce your risk of developing NAFLD. Instead, focus on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce insulin resistance, and improve liver function. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
Avoid excessive alcohol consumption: Although non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is not caused by alcohol, excessive alcohol consumption can still cause liver damage and worsen the condition.
Control your blood sugar levels: High blood sugar levels can increase your risk of developing NAFLD. If you have diabetes or are at risk for diabetes, work with your healthcare provider to keep your blood sugar levels under control.
Manage your cholesterol and triglyceride levels: High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides can contribute to fatty liver disease. Make sure to have your cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked regularly and take steps to manage them if they are high.
Avoid unnecessary medications: Certain medications can cause liver damage and increase your risk of developing NAFLD. Talk to your healthcare provider about the potential risks of any medications you are taking.
By following these steps, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing NAFLD and improve your overall liver health.
The research was published in Cell Metabolism and was conducted by Mark Ezpeleta et al.
If you care about liver health, please read studies about dairy foods linked to liver cancer, and coffee drinkers may halve their risk of liver cancer.
For more information about liver health, please see recent studies that an anti-inflammatory diet could help prevent fatty liver disease, and results showing vitamin D could help prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
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