In a new study from Texas A&M University, researchers found a natural compound in many vegetables called indole may fight fatty liver disease.
They found indole, which is present in gut bacteria and cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, can control non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
They also found how this natural compound may lead to new treatments or preventive measures for NAFLD.
NAFLD occurs when the liver becomes “marbled” with fat, sometimes due to unhealthy nutrition, such as excessive intake of saturated fats.
If not properly addressed, this condition can lead to life-threatening liver disease, including cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Many factors contribute to NAFLD. Fatty liver is seven to 10 times more common in people with obesity than in the general population. In addition, obesity causes inflammation in the body.
Macrophages, types of white blood cells that normally battle infection, drive this inflammation. This inflammation exacerbates liver damage in those with liver disease.
Gut bacteria can also have an effect—either positive or negative—on the progression of fatty liver disease. These bacteria produce many different compounds, one of which is indole.
In the study, the team examined the effect of indole concentrations on people, animal models, and individual cells to help determine indole’s effect on liver inflammation and its potential benefits to people with NAFLD.
In 137 people with fatty livers, the team discovered people with a higher body mass index tended to have lower levels of indole in their blood.
Additionally, the indole levels in those with clinical obesity were significantly lower than those who were considered lean. And in those with lower indole levels, there was also a higher amount of fat deposition in the liver.
To further determine the impact of indole, the research team used animal models fed a low-fat diet as a control and a high-fat diet to simulate the effects of NAFLD.
If you care about liver health, please read studies about people with diabetes need to prevent this dangerous liver disease and findings of 5 big myths about liver detoxing you should know.
For more information about liver disease prevention and treatment, please see recent studies about oral diseases linked to a 75% increase in liver cancer risk and results showing that a new way to treat chronic liver disease.
The study is published in Hepatology. One author of the study is Chaodong Wu.
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