Green tea along with exercise can reduce fatty liver disease, study reveals

In the case of non-alcoholic fatty liver issues the combination of green tea and exercise might work well, as per the research

The people who are suffering from the non-alcoholic fatty liver may get benefits from exercising regularly and also by replacing the high-calorie beverages with diet green tea, new research stated. The researchers found out that a mixture of green tea extract along with exercise helped in reducing the severity of obesity-related fatty liver disease by 75 percent in mice.

Although the trials have not been tested on humans the results suggest a promising health strategy. "Combining the two might have health benefits for people, but we don't have the clinical data yet," said Joshua Lambert, Associate Professor of Food Science at The Pennsylvania State University in the US.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver is a significant global health problem

The antioxidant properties of green tea are known to help fight cancer and atherosclerosis. But the Penn study points to the effects of dietary iron on a green tea compound. REUTERS

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a significant global health problem that is expected to worsen, Lambert said. Because of the high prevalence of risk factors such as obesity and Type-2 diabetes, fatty liver disease is forecast to afflict more than 100 million people by 2030. And there are currently no validated therapies for the disease.

In the study, mice fed a high-fat diet for 16 weeks that consumed green tea extract and exercised regularly by running on a wheel were found to have just a quarter of the lipid deposits in their livers compared to those seen in the livers of a control group of mice. Mice that were treated with green tea extract alone or exercise alone had roughly half as much fat in their livers as the control group.

Researchers measured protein and fat content in their faeces

In addition to analyzing the liver tissues of mice in the study, which was published recently in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, the researchers also measured the protein and fat content in their faeces. They found that the mice that consumed green tea extract and exercised had higher faecal lipid and protein levels.

"By examining the livers of these mice after the study concluded and by screening their faeces during the research, we saw that the mice that consumed green tea extract and exercised actually were processing nutrients differently -- their bodies were handling food differently," Lambert said.

"We think the polyphenols in green tea interact with digestive enzymes secreted in the small intestine and partially inhibit the breakdown of carbohydrates, fat and protein in food," he added.

"So, if a mouse doesn't digest the fat in its diet, that fat and the calories associated with it pass through the mouse's digestive system, and a certain amount of it ends up coming out in its faeces," he said.