- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common liver disease in obese individuals
- Astaxanthin, a pigment from an alga, has the potential to prevent and reverse liver changes associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Further research is required to establish its benefits in humans with the liver damage
Fat accumulation in the liver can have serious consequences. It causes liver inflammation and liver dysfunction. Further worsening of the condition results in scar tissue formation and cirrhosis, and finally liver failure. Cirrhosis can also result in liver cancer. Alcohol is a common cause of fatty liver, though non-compulsive drinkers and teetotalers may also suffer from a similar liver disease called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Obesity is commonly linked with NAFLD, and the ever-growing number of obesity cases have only worsened the situation. Genetic predisposition is a common contributor to NALFD, along with a high fat diet and poor lifestyle habits.
Armed with a grant to carry on further research, Ji-Young Lee hopes to find a solution in astaxanthin in preventing as well as reversing changes caused by NAFLD, and its effects on genes responsible for NAFLD if any.
The use of astaxanthin in the prevention and treatment of liver damage will be particularly useful in vegetarians, who do not consume fish. It should however be remembered that there is nothing to replace a healthy lifestyle and intake of balanced diet to control obesity and its consequences.
- Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis
- Yang Y, Kim B, Lee JY (2013) Astaxanthin Structure, Metabolism, and Health Benefits. J Hum Nutr Food Sci 1: 1003.