June 21, 2024

Intermittent Fasting A Potential Solution to Prevent Liver Inflammation and Liver Cancer in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver condition, which can lead to liver inflammation (metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis, MASH), liver cirrhosis, and even liver cancer. Obesity is a significant contributor to NAFLD, and its prevalence has been increasing significantly in Europe, the U.S., and emerging countries like India and China. The resulting health consequences and associated healthcare costs are substantial.

To investigate potential dietary interventions for NAFLD, a team of researchers from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the University of Tübingen explored the protective effects of intermittent fasting on mice with pre-existing liver inflammation. Intermittent fasting, which involves restricting calorie intake for specific periods, has previously been shown to aid in weight loss and improve certain metabolic disorders.

The researchers discovered that intermittent fasting on a 5:2 schedule significantly reduced the development of liver cancer in mice with NAFLD. They identified two proteins in liver cells, SIRT3 and PPARα, that work together to provide the protective effect of fasting. An approved drug, Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor, was found to partially mimic this effect.

Heikenwälder, a researcher from DKFZ and the University of Tübingen, explains, “We have investigated whether simple dietary changes can specifically interrupt the vicious circle of an unhealthy diet, obesity, liver inflammation, and liver cancer.”

The findings suggest that intermittent fasting could be a promising approach to prevent the progression of NAFLD to liver inflammation and liver cancer. Further research is needed to confirm these results in humans and explore the potential therapeutic applications of SIRT3 and PPARα activators.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it