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Eating Vegetables Might Save You from Fatty Liver Disease

Texas A&M AgriLife Research carried out a new study that reveals that by eating vegetables the risk of fatty liver disease can be minimized. Nutritionists, often talk about several useful natural compounds and nutrients present in the vegetables that save a person from fatty liver disease in life.

The study shows that how a natural compound known as indole found in the bacterial gut and cruciferous vegetables include kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower helps to control the nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The compound may also lead to preventive measures or several new treatments for NAFLD. The study was published in “Hepatology”.

Chaodong Wu who is the principal investigator for the study and a Texas A&M AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow said, it is believed that healthy foods with a high amount of indole help to control and prevent the NAFLD. Moreover, these healthy foods improve the health and well being of the individual.

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NAFLD is characterized by the marbled appearance of the liver due to fat accumulation. This occurs due to an unhealthy diet that contains a high amount of saturated fat. If this condition is not treated well before time then it leads to severe diseases such as liver cancer or cirrhosis.

There are many factors involved in causing NAFLD. Obesity is one of the major factors that play a greater role in contributing to fatty liver disease. People with obesity are at greater risk of getting a fatty liver disease and its ratio is 10 to 7 times more as compared to nonobese people. Obesity causes inflammation in the body and it increases liver damage in diseased patients.

There are many effects of gut bacteria on fatty liver disease either in a positive or negative way. Bacteria cause the progression of fatty liver disease.  Many useful and natural compounds are produced by these bacteria including indole. Clinical nutritionists found that it is the product of an amino acid named tryptophan. According to the National Cancer Institute indole proves to be a therapeutic and preventive compound for fatty liver disease as it has many anti-cancerous and anti-inflammatory properties.

The study carried out on animal models, diseased people and individual cells to check the effects of indole on the fatty liver. The investigation has been made to find out the extent to which indole alleviates liver inflammation in NAFLD patients.

Qifu is a physician at Chongqing Medical University in China and the leader of the clinical research. The sample size of the study is 137. Scientists found that people with higher body mass indexes had a low level of indole in their bodies as compared to the ones who were lean. The level of liver fat deposition was also high in obese people.

To further investigate the effects of indole, researchers fed animal models with a high-fat diet which stimulates the NAFLD and low-fat diet as control.

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 Gianfranco Alpini who is a study collaborator and professor at Texas A&M Health Science Center said, By comparing animal models, scientists were able to better understand that how indole alleviates the effects of Non-alcohol fatty liver disease.

Those animal models that were fed with a low-fat diet show low-fat deposition and inflammation in the liver because they have a high level of indole. Shannon Glaser who is a professor of Texas A&M Health Science Center said indole not only reduces the amount of fat in the liver rather by acting on the intestinal cells it lessens the inflammation.

To better understand the link between gut and liver diseases researchers need to do more work. Also, more research will be needed to explore the full effects of indole on fatty liver disease. Wu said that through research it will possible in the future to predict which foods can change gut microbiota and increase indole production.



Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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