Acetaminophen is the most popular over-the-counter painkiller in the United States.
Overdosing on the product can, however, lead to severe health consequences.
In a new study, researchers found that following a short-term fructose diet could help prevent liver damage caused by acetaminophen overdose.
The research was conducted by a team at the University of Michigan.
Many people are unaware that acetaminophen overdoses are responsible for nearly 46% of all acute liver failure cases throughout the country.
Fructose (fruit sugar) is a sweetener present in various beverages and processed foods that are widely consumed throughout the country.
And traditionally, chronic fructose overconsumption is strongly linked to obesity, hepatic steatosis, or fatty liver disease and insulin resistance.
In the study, the team found that in mice, consuming a high fructose diet for a short amount of time prior to an acetaminophen overdose actually offered protection against liver injury.
They experimented with two separate groups of mice.
The first one was fed a high fructose diet before being injected with acetaminophen, and the second was injected with the drug and then administered a fructose and/or glucose solution afterward.
They found that the mice that were given the short-term high fructose diet before the acetaminophen overdose showed nearly no liver damage caused by the acetaminophen metabolites.
The team also found that when acute fructose intake was administered right after acetaminophen administration, it also effectively reduced liver damage by acetaminophen metabolites.
These findings suggest that fructose can be used as a treatment for patients with recent acetaminophen overdoses.
One author of the study is Lei Yin, M.D., Ph.D.
The study is published in Hepatology Communication.
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