We all know that significant alcohol consumption can lead to liver damage, but you might be surprised to learn that Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is a very common condition, affecting about a quarter of the North American population. Its pathogenesis isn’t fully understood, but new research presented during Palm Oil Nutrition Week by Dr Enrico Magosso shows that the tocotrienols found in Malaysian palm fruit oil hold promise for the millions of people affected by this disease.
What is NAFLD?
NAFLD results from the accumulation of excess fats (triglycerides) in the liver of people who drink little-to-no alcohol. It is usually associated with obesity, insulin resistance and high cholesterol (metabolic syndrome), and is now the most common cause (24 percent) of abnormal liver function among U.S. adults. The U.S. is not the only country dealing with this upsurge. NAFLD is thought to affect 15-30 percent of the general adult populations in Western countries, 21 percent in Shanghai, between 18 and 30 percent in Japan and about 14 percent in Thailand.
NAFLD is difficult to detect because most people show no signs or complications, but some experts estimate that 90 percent of people who are obese and those who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may also have this fatty liver disease.
There is currently no drug that can effectively cure or treat NAFLD.
In a presentation entitled “Tocotrienols: The New Frontier for a Healthy Liver,” Magosso explained the effects of tocotrienol supplementation on people diagnosed with NAFLD. Magosso conducted a human clinical study comprised of men and women over the age of 35 who suffered from NAFLD. One of the groups was given a placebo while the other was given tocotrienols. After a year, two thirds of the tocotrienol group showed improvement. Half of the group was completely cured. No one’s condition worsened.
I’m amazed because there is no other drug or therapy that can do anything comparable to this. These amazing results are a relief as NAFLD has a growing incidence and the risks of liver transplants are high.
Dr Enrico Magosso is part of the Advanced Medical & Dental Institute of the Universiti Sains Malaysia. His research has been published many times.