In a study from the University of Eastern Finland, scientists found exercise supports the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by impacting on several metabolic pathways in the body.
They found regular high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise over a period of 12 weeks strongly reduced the participants’ blood sugar and waist circumference, and improved their maximum oxygen consumption rate and maximum achieved workload.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease, affecting approximately 25% of the world’s population.
The disease may progress from the accumulation of fat in liver cells to liver inflammation and liver cirrhosis.
Exercise is an integral part of the treatment of NAFLD.
The benefits of exercise may relate not only to weight management but also to alterations in the metabolites produced by the body and gut microbes, whose role in fatty liver disease remains poorly understood.
In the study, the researchers examined the effects of exercise on metabolism in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
They have divided into an exercise intervention group that had a HIIT session twice a week, plus an independent training session once a week for 12 weeks, and into a control group that did not increase exercise during the study.
Neither of the groups sought to lose weight nor changed their dietary habits during the intervention.
The team found exercise had a beneficial effect on blood sugar, waist circumference, maximum oxygen consumption rate, and maximum achieved workload.
These factors were also linked to many of the observed alterations in the abundance of various metabolites in the exercise intervention group.
The strongest changes were found in amino acids and their derivatives, lipids, and bile acids.
In particular, exercise increased the levels of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, in adipose tissue.
According to the researchers, their higher accumulations in fats may improve lipid and blood sugar metabolism, as well as with reduced insulin resistance.
Based on the results, the team says exercise can have a beneficial effect on many factors contributing to disease in patients with NAFLD, even without weight loss and dietary changes.
If you care about liver health, please read studies that coffee drinkers may halve their risk of liver cancer, and that a green Mediterranean diet could cut fatty liver disease by half.
The study was conducted by Ambrin Farizah Babu et al and published in Scientific Reports.
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