This nutrient supplement may help treat fatty liver disease, study finds

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Fatty liver disease is a dangerous metabolic disease, which without treatment can develop into cirrhosis or even hepatocellular carcinoma—that is, hepatic cancer.

In a recent study at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, researchers found common dietary supplement prebiotic may help in the treatment of fatty liver.

The study is published in Nutrients. One author is the Earlier Academy of Finland Research Fellow Satu Pekkala.

In the study, the team was successful in partially preventing fatty liver disease in rats.

Rats with fatty liver disease were fed with a dietary supplement that is known to increase the growth of good bacteria in the gut.

Simultaneous with the increased abundance of the bacteria, the liver fat content decreased strongly.

In addition, preliminary results from a human study seem promising.

The team was able to treat the fatty liver of mice by administering Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, a member of the gut microbiota with known anti-inflammatory properties.

Unfortunately, this type of health-beneficial gut microbes cannot necessarily be sold at pharmacies for human use.

So they wanted to find out whether we can increase its natural abundance in the gut with prebiotic fiber.

A prebiotic is defined as a selectively fermented dietary component that cannot be digested in the gut but serves as food for the good gut microbes, such as lactobacilli, thereby conferring beneficial effects for the health of the host.

The research team first found that the above-mentioned Faecalibacterium prausnitzii was able to use prebiotic Xylo-oligosaccharides (XOS) as food, which increased its growth.

XOS is a dietary supplement that can be found in natural products shops and online stores.

The most important contributing factors to reduced liver fat were improved hepatic fat and glucose metabolism.

This is the first study to show such effects for XOS. The research team has already conducted XOS intervention in humans having a fatty liver.

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