30 million Americans are affected by some form of liver disease, according to the American Liver Foundation. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common causes of chronic liver disease. Up to 25% of people and more than 6 million children in the United States suffer from this condition. However, the burden of fatty liver disease in the United States is constantly on the rise, and in 2030 the prevalence of fatty liver in the US may reach 50%, estimate the researchers of the European Association for the Study of the Liver.
A recent study published in the Journal of Hepatology reveals that physical exercise regardless of its intensity or frequency may significantly help in fighting against fatty liver. The Australian researchers have studied closely, how exactly the workout impacts liver health.
Weight loss is the common recommendation for the obese and overweight patients to reduce the severity of their fatty liver. However, there is be another very effective way to fight the NAFLD – exercising.
In order to define how much and what kind of exercise is necessary for the people diagnosed with liver disease, Dr. Nathan Johnson, PhD, Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney (Australia) and his team recruited 48 volunteers, leading a sedentary way of life and suffering from overweight and fatty liver not caused by the alcohol consumption. The people were separated in four groups of 12. Each group was assigned a different workout program: the first group was doing exercises of low intensity but high frequency; the second group received exercises of high frequency but low intensity; the third group was training too little and not often enough; the fourth group (placebo group) was assigned with stretching and massage only.
The changes in liver health were monitored through the magnetic resonance spectroscopy, namely, before the beginning of the study and after eight weeks from the launch of the experiment.
Volume and intensity of workout are not decisive
The volunteers from all four groups, regardless of the workout program, have demonstrated a significant decline in liver fat of about 18-29%. The first and second groups had slightly better results than the others. However, the positive effect of was not associated with the progress in weight loss. To note, the placebo group has shown an increase in liver fat by an average of 14%.
“The results from our study show that all exercise doses, irrespective of volume or intensity, were efficacious in reducing liver fat and visceral fat by an amount that was clinically significant, in previously inactive, overweight, or obese adults compared with placebo. These changes were observed without clinically significant weight loss,” explained Dr. Johnson.
Keeping to a healthy and active lifestyle are the key components of the liver care. Any kind of regular exercises can improve the liver health, concluded the scientists.
About fatty liver
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most frequent form of liver condition worldwide. NAFLD is not related to the alcohol consumption and can be diagnosed if more than 5%-10% of the liver`s weight is fat and can quickly progress to severe liver damages.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a typical problem of the industrial countries and in most cases caused by an unhealthy way of life: too much fast food and too little physical activity. It can also affect overweight and obese people or those who have diabetes, high cholesterol or serious liver diseases.
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