The Effects of Physical Exercise on Fatty Liver Disease

The Effects of Physical Exercise on Fatty Liver Disease
Dr. Benyamin Mansoori
Dr. Benyamin Mansoori

Advance Diploma in General Dermatology
Diploma of Cosmetic Medicine

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

The Effects of Physical Exercise on Fatty Liver Disease

Exercise Benefits Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Patients, Regardless of Weight Loss

A joint study by Australian and UK researchers reveals that individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (often referred to as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH) can reap health benefits from exercise, irrespective of any resultant weight loss.
NASH is characterized by fat accumulation within the liver, leading to inflammation. Given the absence of specific drug treatments for NASH, lifestyle modifications remain the sole effective treatment strategy. Prior to this study, the role of weight loss as the primary mechanism of recovery was still debated, with questions surrounding the independent benefits of exercise.
To elucidate this, the research focused on 24 predominantly inactive NASH patients, assigning half of them to a 12-week exercise regimen and the rest to continue their regular routine. Importantly, participants were advised to keep their diet consistent and retain their initial body weight.
The exercise regimen, comprising cycling and resistance exercises thrice weekly, led to noteworthy health improvements in the participants: a 16% decline in liver fat, a 12% reduction in visceral fat (fat located within the abdominal cavity encircling organs), and a 23% decrease in circulating triglycerides (fat breakdown byproducts). On the contrary, those who stuck to their usual routine witnessed a rise in these metrics.

Visceral fat is directly associated with liver inflammation and fibrosis (liver scarring, a precursor to cirrhosis), highlight researchers from the University of Adelaide and Newcastle University, UK.

Moreover, the exercising group demonstrated a decline in CK-18, a hallmark pathological characteristic of NASH. However, certain inflammatory biomarkers remained unchanged, and liver enzymes showed no discernible difference.

This unchanged liver enzyme metric suggests that exercise, devoid of weight loss, might be insufficient in preventing liver fibrosis alone. Nonetheless, considering the inherent challenges in sustaining weight loss over time, the researchers suggest that exercise, even without weight reduction, might serve as a feasible alternative for NASH patients struggling with weight management.


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