Treat non-alcoholic fatty liver with natural vegetable indole
The natural compound called indole in many vegetables could help fight non-alcoholic fatty liver and other fatty liver diseases. A new study, conducted by Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists, shows how medicine can use this ingredient, which is found in many varieties, in the fight against such diseases.
Possible remedy for non-alcoholic fatty liver
The study shows how indole can combat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). So this is a natural compound found in intestinal bacteria and cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Scientists are also exploring how indole can lead to new treatments or preventive measures against sick liver.
NAFLD occurs when the liver is “marbled” with fat. This is sometimes due to an unhealthy diet, such as an excessive intake of saturated fats. If not properly addressed, it can lead to life-threatening liver disease, including cirrhosis or liver cancer. However, many different factors contribute to this.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver is seven to ten times more common in people with obesity than in the general population. In addition, obesity causes inflammation in the body. This inflammation is triggered by macrophages, types of white blood cells that normally fight infections. This inflammation exacerbates liver damage in patients with liver disease.
Gut bacteria can also have a positive or negative impact on the progression of fatty liver disease. These bacteria produce many different compounds, one of which is indole. Nutritionists have identified this product of the amino acid, tryptophan, as likely to be preventive and therapeutically effective for people with NAFLD.
Multi-stage study on fatty liver disease
The present study examined the effects of indole concentration on humans, animal models and single cells to determine its effects on liver inflammation and the potential benefits for people with NAFLD. However, this primarily examined the extent to which indole softens the non-alcoholic fatty liver, as well as the results on the intestinal bacteria, intestinal inflammation and liver inflammation. Researchers wanted to find out how this substance improves fatty liver in animal models.
In 137 subjects, the research team discovered that people with a higher body mass index tended to have less indole in their blood. In addition, levels in patients with clinical obesity were significantly lower than those who were considered lean. Those with lower levels of indole also had higher levels of fat in their liver. This finding is likely to affect other races, the researchers found. However, the ethnic background can have a certain influence on the colon bacteria populations and the exact metabolite values.
The study authors hope to be able to collaborate with food scientists and clinical nutritionists in future research to investigate which healthy foods can alter the intestinal flora and increase indole production.
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