Scientists find hormone boosting liver health in people with fatty liver disease

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A study from Massachusetts General Hospital and other institutions found that growth hormone can improve liver health in people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) by reducing liver fat and inflammation.

Obesity and diabetes, two risk factors for NAFLD, are increasingly common, with up to 80% of obese individuals in the US having the condition.

NAFLD can progress to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which can cause liver inflammation, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and even failure.

The researchers chose to study growth hormone as it has been shown to reduce body fat and inflammation.

People with higher body weight tend to have lower growth hormone levels and higher rates of NAFLD and NASH.

The team examined whether growth hormone administration in overweight/obese individuals with NAFLD would improve liver fat, inflammation, and fibrosis.

They conducted a study with 41 participants who were given either growth hormone or a placebo for six months.

MRI scans showed that the growth hormone group had better liver fat and a combined measure of liver inflammation and fibrosis compared to the placebo group.

The team found liver function tests and markers of inflammation also improved, and growth hormone was well-tolerated with no safety concerns.

This study sheds light on how our hormones can affect NAFLD, suggesting that raising growth hormone levels can improve liver health in affected individuals.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a medical condition characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver of people who consume little or no alcohol.

It is a common condition that affects up to 25% of people worldwide and up to 80% of those with obesity in the United States.

NAFLD can progress to a more severe form called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is characterized by inflammation and liver cell damage and is often accompanied by liver fibrosis.

NASH with severe fibrosis can lead to cirrhosis or liver failure and is one of the leading causes of liver transplants in the United States.

The study was conducted by Laura Dichtel et al.

If you care about liver health, please read studies about dairy foods linked to liver cancer, and coffee drinkers may halve their risk of liver cancer.

For more information about liver health, please see recent studies that alternate day fasting could benefit people with fatty liver disease, and results showing vitamin D could help prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

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