NMU – 71 Probiotic and Omega-3 Fat Combination Reverses Liver Damage in Fatty Liver Disease
Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update No. 71 (November 8, 2017)
With Dr. James Meschino
Topic: Probiotic and Omega-3 Fat Combination Reverses Liver Damage in Fatty Liver Disease
Source: United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Week 2017. Presented November 1, 2017
In the previous LMU I explained that in back in 2012 the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, the American College of Gastroenterology, and the American Gastroenterological Association started recommended vitamin E supplementation in the treatment of fatty liver problems.
With the rise in overweight problems, and obesity and type 2 diabetes in our society, there has been a corresponding rise in the incidence of fatty liver disease. Fatty Liver Disease is known medically as “steatohepatitis”, which involves inflammation and fat accumulation in the liver.
It is often seen in alcoholics, but a form of the condition is also seen in non-alcoholic patients and labelled non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is commonly seen in individuals with diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetic state).
The danger is that both forms of the condition can progress to cirrhosis- an irreversible liver disease that is life-threatening.
Well, by sheer coincidence, just this week an important study was released showing that probiotic supplementation, in combination with omega-3 fat supplementation can also help to reverse liver damage in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
In this trial, researchers studied 48 adults with NAFLD, some of whom had type 2 diabetes.
Twenty-six participants received a combination of probiotics supplemented with omega-3 fats from flaxseed and wheat germ oil, for 8 weeks, and 22 participants received placebo.
The results showed a significant reduction in the mean fatty liver index score, which measures a host of blood markers for liver inflammation and liver damage.
Previous animal studies have also shown the same kind of results with probiotics and omega-3 fats.
There was also a previous study with 130 patients hospitalized for cirrhosis, who were given a probiotic supplement for 6 months.
The patients on the probiotic showed impressive improvement in this randomized, controlled trial.
It is likely that probiotics (friendly bacteria) help to populate the microflora of the large intestine, and suppress the secretion of inflammation-promoting chemicals by the unfriendly bacterial. They may also secrete, some positive chemicals that also enter the blood stream, travel to the liver and exert some protective effects.
We know that omega-3 fats slow the rate of cell division and reduce inflammation, which are likely mechanisms through which they help reduce the develop of cirrhosis and reverse some fibrotic damage to liver cells.
I’m sure we will discover other ways that probiotics and omega-3 fats help to improve liver function as the research continues to unfold.
This is just one more example of the power of nutritional medicine in the prevention and complementary management of disease.
If you have been following my weekly Lifestyle Medicine Updates then you have seen that almost every week there is new study of importance that re-affirms that the foods we eat, the exercise we do, the supplements we take, play a significant role in modulating our health and healthy life expectancy.
The use of probiotics and omega-3 fats, along with vitamin E supplementation, is one more example of the power of nutritional medicine to modulate the impact of potentially life-threatening condition, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
As always, I have included a link the scientific reference below.
Thanks for watching and see you next time
United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Week 2017. Presented November 1, 2017 (https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/887955?nlid=118860_1842&src=WNL_mdplsfeat_171107_mscpedit_wir&uac=62515BJ&spon=17&impID=1476698&faf=1 )
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