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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.

Edmonton, Alberta


  1. Thank you for this Arya. Great study, and correlates well with what we are seeing. We now have over 4,000 patients who have all had baseline abdominal ultrasounds, read by the same radiology group, quantifying the fatty livers as mild, moderate or severe. We are in the process of repeating the ultrasounds post treatment and we hope to see results that correlate with the above study and we have already seen some good results with patients who have weight loss of 10% or greater. This is observational and not randomized, but continues to support the evidence that medical management does have a role in decreasing disease burden.

    Sean Wharton

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  2. This is just another reason to keep your weight under control! Good article! Promoting understanding about the way the body works is always admirable!

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  3. i never thought about the effects of losing weight on my liver. Espespeciall for the non alcoholic. Wow! i am glad to know that losing weight effects my liver for the better.

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  4. I found this topic really interesting to write on ‘intensive lifestyle intervention (LS) and how it helps to reduce weight’. I have an article upcoming on how controlling fatty liver can help reduce cholesterol too. Will be including a few tips from NCBI reports too.

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