This common sugar in American diet may lead to fatty liver disease

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In a recent study, researchers found that consuming high amounts of fructose may promote nonalcoholic fatty liver disease by damaging the intestinal barrier.

Fructose is a common type of sugar in the American diet.

Its processed form called high-fructose corn syrup is used to sweeten a variety of foods.

Previous studies have shown the link between excessive consumption of high-fructose corn syrup and health problems like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Fatty liver disease can lead to liver inflammation and liver damage.

This will lead to a more aggressive disease called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) that can progress to scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), liver cancer, and liver failure.

Scientists have been unsure how high fructose consumption might contribute to NAFLD.

In the current study, the team aimed to explore fructose’s role in NAFLD. They used the animal model to conduct the experiment.

They found that mice fed the high-fructose diet for long periods showed not only liver inflammation but also deterioration of their intestinal barrier.

The intestinal barrier normally prevents bacteria and toxins in the gut from leaking into the bloodstream.

Mice fed a high-fructose diet also had higher circulating levels of endotoxins—toxins released from certain bacteria when they die.

The team also found that leaked endotoxins prompted immune cells in the liver called macrophages to react and increase the production of cell signaling proteins like tumor necrosis factor (TNF) that can cause inflammation.

These signaling proteins are proved to boost enzymes that convert fructose into fatty deposits in the liver.

Experiments in human liver cells showed that a similar cellular process could take place in people: adding TNF to the human liver cells increased the conversion of fructose into fat.

The findings suggest that high fructose levels could trigger a breakdown in the intestinal barrier and leakage of gut microbial products into the liver.

This will exacerbate inflammation and boost the conversion of fructose into fatty deposits.

If you care about liver health, please read studies about simple habit that could give you a healthy liver, and findings of common diabetes drug that may reverse liver inflammation.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about simple blood test that could detect your risk of fatty liver disease, and results showing this green diet may strongly lower non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

The study was conducted by Jelena Todoric et al., and published in Nat Metab.

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