Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a common health problem and there is no single standard treatment option. If left unchecked, the condition can cause liver damage, so it is important to deal with any health problems that cause the disease. Obesity is a major factor in the disease’s development, and a new study suggests that it can be mitigated by combining exercise with commonly used green tea extracts.
The new study, from Pennsylvania State University, involved feeding mice a high-fat diet to induce obesity-related fatty liver disease. The researchers then asked the mice to run on wheels for exercise and fed them green tea extract as part of their diet. Although mice benefited from individual exercise and green tea extract alone, combining them could be particularly beneficial.
The researchers found that, on the one hand, mice fed extracts and exercising showed higher gene expression associated with new mitochondrial formation. Joshua Lambert, an associate professor of food science at Pennsylvania State University, explains:
We measured the expression of genes known to be associated with energy metabolism, which play an important role in energy use. In mice that received the combination therapy, we saw an increase in gene expression that did not exist until green tea extract was consumed and exercised.
Previous research by the team on exercise and green tea extract has linked this combination to cardiovascular health in rodents that improve the high-fat diet. This also “significantly reduces” their BMI. The researchers found that mice on a high-fat diet who used the combination at the same time reduced the severity of obesity-related fatty liver disease by 75 percent. In addition, they found that mice given “treatment” alone were reduced by about 50 percent compared to controlled mice.
Having said that, the researchers caution that the study involved mice, not humans, and that more research was needed to determine whether people would get similar results and whether there were any side effects. “Combining the two may be good for people’s health, but we don’t have clinical data yet,” Lambert explains. “