Regular exercise can protect against fatty liver

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In a new study from Tübingen University Hospital, researchers found exercise not only trains the muscles but can also prevent the development of the fatty liver.

Worldwide one in four persons suffers from non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFLD, also called metabolic liver disease MAFLD).

Those affected often have type 2 diabetes as well as an increased risk of liver cirrhosis and cardiovascular diseases. In addition, NAFLD is associated with increased mortality.

An imbalance between energy intake and consumption is discussed as a cause for the disease.

This leads to fat deposits in the liver and over time impairs the function of the mitochondria—both risk factors for the development of insulin resistance and liver inflammation.

To prevent and treat NAFLD, lifestyle modification with increased physical activity is recommended.

In the study, the team examined to what extent regular exercise alters the adaptation of the liver to increased energy intake and what role skeletal muscle plays in this process.

Mice were fed a high-energy diet. Some of the mice also received regular treadmill training.

Following the six-week intervention, the researchers examined the animals’ livers and muscles for changes.

The results showed that training regulated important enzymes of glucose and fructose degradation in the liver as well as the cell metabolism.

As a consequence, less fat is stored in the liver—and specific lipids such as diacylglycerol species are lowered. Moreover, glucose control improves in the exercise-trained mice.

In addition, an increased respiratory capacity of the skeletal muscles relieves the metabolic stress in the liver.

The systems biology data offer a comprehensive insight into the molecular adaptation of the liver and muscles to a high-energy diet, training, and combinatorial effects.

The results fit in very well with the approaches of ongoing clinical studies.

They also show that regular physical activity regulates many targets in metabolic pathways at the same time, an effect that cannot be achieved with a single therapy.

If you care about liver health, please read studies about which drug can harm your liver most,

and findings of common diabetes drug that could help reverse liver inflammation.

For more information about liver health, please see recent studies about how do sugary beverages affect the liver, and results showing that taking a coffee or tea break could protect your liver.

The study is published in Molecular Metabolism. One author of the study is Dr. Miriam Hoene.

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