Weight Loss Reduces Liver Fat

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or steatohepatitis (NASH) is a chronic progressive liver condition that is strongly associated with obesity.

Although weight loss is regularly recommended as a treatment and there is much anecdotal evidence to support that weight loss often results in a remarkable reduction in liver size and fat stores, this approach has so far not been tested in a randomised controlled trial.

It is therefore of interest that Promrat and colleagues from Brown University, Providence, RI, have now published the results of a study on the effects of lifestyle intervention on NASH in the latest issue of HEPATOLOGY.

Thirty-one overweight or obese individuals with biopsy-proven NASH were randomized in a 2:1 ratio to receive intensive lifestyle intervention (LS) or structured education (control).

After 48 weeks of intervention, participants assigned to LS lost an average of 9.3% of their weight versus 0.2% in the control group. A higher proportion of participants in the LS group had a reduction of NASH histological activity score (NAS) of at least 3 points or had posttreatment NAS of 2 or less as compared with the control group (72% versus 30%).

Percent weight reduction correlated significantly with improvement in NAS and participants who achieved the study weight loss goal (>/=7%), compared with those who lost less than 7%, had significant improvements in steatosis, lobular inflammation, ballooning injury and NAS.

Despite the small size of this study, the results are undisputable: weight reduction achieved through lifestyle intervention leads to improvements in liver histology in NASH.

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