Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), encompassing both non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), is the most common cause of liver disease in Australia. There is increasing evidence for considering NAFLD as part of metabolic syndrome including obesity, hyperinsulinaemia, insulin resistance, hypertriglyceridemia and hypertension. Obesity is a clear risk factor for developing this common condition. The conventional therapeutic approach to NAFLD is based on lifestyle intervention, but there is no consensus on the ideal pharmacological treatment.
Nevertheless, the presence of insulin resistance, increased free fatty acids and peroxidation of lipids in livers observed in those with NAFLD have suggested that therapies that focus on targeted antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions are a worthwhile consideration. Such therapies have the potential to improve liver function leading to a drop in serum aminotransferase levels and inflammation, along with improvements in liver histology and steatosis.
In particular, several natural agents have been studied to demonstrate such improvements. Trials using milk thistle, coffee, vitamin E and zinc in NAFLD have shown improvements in liver enzyme levels and biochemistry.
In this infographic we review the use of these compounds as viable and effective options for the treatment of this increasingly prevalent condition.
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