Gut Health

Digestive Supplement Can Heal Your Ailing Liver

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Digestive Supplement Can Heal Your Ailing Liver about ComfortPro

A “silent” disease classified as an epidemic by the World Health Organization affects 30 percent of the world's population.

As no drug can treat it, scientists are forced to look elsewhere for a solution. By doing so they’ve uncovered a promising intervention. The condition is called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Its solution may be a diet with high levels of a common digestive supplement.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is estimated to affect 80 to 100 million U.S. adults. It usually presents without symptoms which makes it especially hazardous. If untreated it can not only lead to a more severe form of liver disease but can contribute to Type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and increased mortality.

Just as there’s a gut-brain axis, there’s also a gut-liver axis, with microbes in the intestines known to play a role in NAFLD. By targeting the gut with synbiotics (prebiotics and probiotics), the gut microbiota can be manipulated to produce a healthier outcome.

Probiotics for your liver

For instance, three recent studies showed that probiotic yogurt, yogurt plus the prebiotic inulin, and oligofructose, a prebiotic, brought down liver enzymes to a healthier level, lowered liver fats and reduced insulin resistance in patients with NAFLD and a more advanced form of the condition called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

These early investigations have been extended by an international team of scientists led by Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, in Germany. They were interested in testing the effects of resistant starch. This prebiotic is found in foods such as whole grains, oats, seeds, peas, beans, lentils, and green bananas.

To do so, the scientists carried out a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial that included 196 Chinese men and women with an average age of 39. All were diagnosed with NAFLD.

Half took a prebiotic in the form of 40 grams of resistant starch each day while the other half took a control starch containing an equal number of calories for comparison. All received dietary counselling throughout the trial to induce weight loss. Comprehensive clinical measurements including blood serum and fecal samples were taken as well as MRI scans to assess changes in liver fat content.

At the end of four months, and after adjusting the results to consider the effects of weight loss, those taking the resistant starch saw an absolute drop in liver fats (triglycerides) by a significant 5.89 percent when compared to controls. What’s more, researchers saw significant beneficial changes in other parameters related to visceral fat (the harmful kind that wraps around abdominal organs), glucose metabolism, lipid (fat) metabolism, blood pressure, and liver enzymes.

NAFLD promoted by a strain of bacteria

Study leader Gianni Panagiotou explained, saying, “We found out that the participants in the study benefited from a resistant starch diet, as the accumulation of fat in the diseased liver was reduced. Furthermore, we observed an increase in certain types of bacteria in the gut of the participants; these bacteria positively influenced fat reduction and transport in the liver. In addition, reduced NAFLD and inflammation biomarkers indicate an alleviation of liver damage."

A bacterial strain that becomes more abundant as liver fat builds and liver injury increases is called Bacteroides stercoris. This bacteria was reduced in those taking resistant starch. The scientists’ detailed analysis as well as additional research in mice leads them to believe that B. stercoris isn’t just linked to NAFLD but promotes its progression.

They concluded their research by writing that resistant starch “could be a novel, relatively simple, and inexpensive microbiota-targeted therapeutic option for NAFLD…and decrease the liver enzymes indicative of liver injury and markers for systemic inflammation.”

How to look after your liver

Since NAFLD is present in more than 90 percent of those with severe obesity and up to 75 percent of overweight people, losing weight is a key strategy.

Certain behaviors such as frequent snacking, sugary drinks and foods with added sugars will worsen the condition, however coffee gets the thumbs up as confirmed by the British Liver Trust who produced a report entitled Coffee And The Liver – The Potential Health Benefits.

Drinking adequate amounts of water also supports the liver.

Exercise improves the condition even without weight loss because it improves insulin sensitivity, which is a risk factor for NAFLD. Exercise also reduces liver fat.

In a review of herbal medicine treatments, the researchers wrote: “Increasing evidence has shown polyphenols including resveratrol, quercetin, silymarin, silybin and rutin are the frequently investigated natural compounds, along with the satisfactory effectiveness in NAFLD.” All are available as supplements.

Best regards,
The Green Valley Team

Resistant starch decreases intrahepatic triglycerides in patients with NAFLD via gut microbiome alterations, Cell Metabolism (2023) https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(23)00297-8

New approach in the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) https://www.uni-jena.de/en/230905-nafld/

Herbal Medicine in the Treatment of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Diseases-Efficacy, Action Mechanism, and Clinical Application (2020) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7235193/

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