Prebiotic supplement may help treat fatty liver disease, study finds

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

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

In the study, researchers were 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 significantly. 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 good gut microbes, such as lactobacilli, thereby conferring beneficial effects on 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.

After these positive results, the research team performed a dietary intervention in rats, in which fatty liver was induced rats, and at the same time they were fed a diet supplemented with XOS for 12 weeks.

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

The results of the research showed that XOS increased the growth of the health-beneficial bacterium, and at the same time, significantly decreased the liver fat content of the rats,” says Pekkala, summarizing the main results.

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. Though the study was made using rats, the research team has already conducted XOS intervention in humans having fatty liver.

The study was conducted by Satu Pekkala et al and published in Nutrients.

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