Liver steatosis, or fatty liver, is the most common liver disease in the world, affecting up to 25% of all Americans. There is currently no drug approved for this condition, which may evolve into a severe disease, including steatoe patitis, fibrosis and cirrhosis.
Research from the prestigious Karolinska Insitutet in Sweden, The clinical trials conducted on mice would be useful to say that dietary nitrate is useful in the treatment and prevention of fatty liver disease. Inorganic nitrate, present in green leafy vegetables, is converted into nitric oxide and in a process involving bacteria induces key metabolic regulatory pathways to permanently reduce oxidative stress and improves cardiometabolic functions.
Old age and unhealthy eating habits contribute to an increase in the incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes. These metabolic disturbances, which are often accompanied by oxidative stress increase the risk of cardiovascular complications and adverse the development of fatty liver diseases.
Karolinska Insitutet has studied the therapeutic effects of dietary nitrate, which is found in high levels in green leafy vegetables, liver steatosis associated with the metabolic syndrome. Food nitrate prevented many characteristics of metabolic syndrome and hepatic steatosis developed in mice on a high-fat diet, with or without combination with a NOS inhibitor ( L-name). These results may have implications for new preventive and therapeutic strategies based on nutrition against hepatic steatosis associated with metabolic dysfunction.
Green Leafy Vegetables can Prevent Hepatics Steatosis
A larger portion of green leafy vegetables in the diet may reduce the risk of developing liver steatosis or fatty liver. In a study published in PNAS, researchers at the Karolinska Institut in Sweden show that increased intake of inorganic nitrate, which occurs naturally in many plant types, reduces fat accumulation in the liver. There is currently no approved treatment for the disease, which can degenerate into potentially lethal conditions such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Liver steatosis, or fatty liver, is a common liver disease that affects about 25% of the population. The most common causes are overweight or high alcohol consumption and currently there is no medical treatment for the disease. Researchers at the Karolinska Institut have now shown that increased intake of inorganic nitrate can prevent fat accumulation in the liver.
Their results were confirmed using two different cell culture studies in human liver cells. In addition to a lower risk of steatosis, the researchers also observed a reduction in blood pressure and a better homeostasis of insulin / glucose. The objective of the research group is the prevention of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes through dietary changes and other means. Previous studies have shown that dietary nitrate from vegetables increases the efficiency of mitochondria, the cell’s power plant, which can improve physical resistance. It has also been shown that increased fruit and vegetable intake has a beneficial effect on cardiovascular function and diabetes.
“We believe that these diseases are linked by similar mechanisms in which oxidative stress causes signaling compromised nitric oxide, which has a negative impact on the functions cardiometaboliche,” says dr. Carlström. “Now we demonstrate an alternative way to produce nitric oxide, where more nitrates in our diet can be converted to nitric oxide and other nitrogen species bioactive in the body”. Although many clinical studies have been conducted, there is still considerable debate as to what plant properties make healthy.
“Nobody has yet focused on nitrate, which we believe is the key,” continues Dr Carlström. “We now want to conduct clinical studies to study the therapeutic value of nitrate supplementation to reduce the risk of hepatic steatosis. The results could lead to the development of new pharmacological and nutritional approaches.”
While larger clinical studies are needed to confirm the role of nitrate, researchers can still recommend eating more green leafy vegetables, such as normal lettuce or spinach, which are richer in nitrates. “And it doesn’t take huge amounts to get the protective effects we’ve seen – just about 200 grams a day,” says Dr Carlström. “Unfortunately, however, many people choose not to eat enough vegetables nowadays.”
Inorganic nitrate to fight steatosis and fatty liver
A problem that is becoming more and more widespread in Italy, despite the Mediterranean diet: that of the fat liver, not due to alcoholism problems; 4 out of 10 adults are affected. It is a disease that, if taken in time and at an early stage, can be cured even only through food. Otherwise, the more it is neglected, the worse the situation can get, and the consequences will also be serious.
It is generally an asymptomatic pathology and when the first concrete symptoms appear, the general picture may already be serious. Research by the Karolinska Institut in Sweden has shown that inorganic nitrate, naturally contained in green leaf vegetables, reduces the accumulation of fat in the liver.
The team, led by professor Mattias Carlström, added inorganic nitrate to a diet rich in fat and sugar, like the one that leads to fat liver. The introduction of nitrate, inorganic, has made significantly lower the proportion of fat in the liver, lowering the blood pressure and improving insulin sensitivity.
Other previous studies have shown that adding inorganic nitrate to your diet every day improves cellular metabolism.
Further clinical studies and trials will be necessary to understand why nitrate is so important for fat liver prevention. In the meantime, if it is established that inorganic nitrate can improve liver health, it would be advisable, and certainly not harmful, to consume food containing it.
Vegetables containing more inorganic nitrate
Nitrate, inorganic, is present in high percentages in some particular green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, celery, lettuce, rocket and beetroot.
According to the Swedish study, to obtain the protective effect, it is sufficient to consume 200 grams per day.