LOW VITAMIN D MAY INCREASE RISK OF NONALCOHOLIC FATTY LIVER DISEASE
The buildup of extra fat in the liver that isn’t caused by alcohol abuse is known as Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). NAFLD has become the most common form of chronic liver disease in Western countries. With rates as high as 30%, it is more common than viral hepatitis or alcoholic liver disease.
Unfortunately, NAFLD is often a disease that shows no obvious symptoms, but when left undiagnosed can lead to further complications, including inflamed liver, and cirrhosis. Currently, there is no approved treatment for NAFLD except for a recommendation to follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
NAFLD is closely linked to metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance), which is in turn linked to obesity and sedentary lifestyle. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to these conditions, so researchers have been looking for a relationship between Vitamin D deficiency and NAFLD, and they appear to have found one.
One study from last year concluded that “Vitamin D deficiency is commonly associated with NAFLD and has even been correlated with disease severity. The metabolic, anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic properties of vitamin D provide plausible mechanisms by which vitamin D may impact on the various steps of disease progression and severity. Cumulatively, this would suggest that vitamin D replacement might be effective in the treatment of NAFLD.” (World J Gastroenterol. 2015 Feb 14; 21(6): 1718–1727. “Vitamin D: A new player in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?” Myrto Eliades and Elias Spyrou.) (Study)
Another study done in Korea concluded that “Low vitamin D status is closely associated with NAFLD, independent of visceral obesity in subjects with diabetes or insulin resistance.” (PLoS One. 2013 Oct 9;8(10). “Low vitamin D status is associated with nonalcoholic Fatty liver disease independent of visceral obesity in Korean adults.” Seo JA, et al.) (Study)
If you or someone you know has NAFLD, there may be new hope besides lifestyle and diet changes. Talk to your caregiver and see if Vitamin D can help.