This common dietary fiber shows promise in treating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

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A recent study reveals that resistant starch could play a crucial role in treating non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition affecting roughly 30% of the global population.

This disease can escalate to more severe liver issues and is linked to other health problems like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

The research, led by Huating Li from Shanghai Sixth People’s Hospital and documented in Cell Metabolism, involved 200 patients with NAFLD. Over four months, these participants were split into two groups.

One group was given resistant starch powder made from maize, while the other received a calorie-matched, non-resistant corn starch. Both groups consumed 20 grams of their designated starches mixed with water before meals twice daily.

The outcomes were striking. By the study’s conclusion, the resistant starch group showed a nearly 40% reduction in liver triglyceride levels compared to the control group.

Additionally, there were significant decreases in liver enzymes and inflammatory factors, markers typically associated with NAFLD. Importantly, these improvements occurred independently of weight loss, underscoring the starch’s direct effects.

Further analysis of fecal samples from the participants pointed to significant microbiota changes, particularly a reduction in Bacteroides stercoris—a bacteria species implicated in liver fat metabolism.

This shift suggests that resistant starch not only impacts liver function directly but also modifies gut bacteria in a way that supports liver health.

Huating Li noted the ease of incorporating resistant starch into the diet compared to more demanding interventions like strenuous exercise or significant weight loss, making it a viable, low-effort treatment option for NAFLD patients.

The findings are not just promising for those suffering from NAFLD; they also hint at broader applications. They suggest that targeting gut microbiota could be an effective strategy in managing and potentially reversing NAFLD.

Encouraged by these results, the research team is planning further studies to explore the potential of resistant starch as a therapeutic tool against NAFLD. This could pave the way for new, non-invasive treatment options for a widespread and often serious condition.

If you care about liver health, please read studies about a diet that can treat fatty liver disease and obesity, and coffee drinkers may halve their risk of liver cancer.

For more information about liver health, please see recent studies that anti-inflammatory diet could help prevent fatty liver disease, and results showing vitamin D could help prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

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