HomeScience and ResearchScientific ResearchA New Therapy Shows Huge Promise For NAFLD

A New Therapy Shows Huge Promise For NAFLD

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Obesity and diabetes are becoming more common risk factors for NAFLD. There are presently no FDA-approved medications for NAFLD, and the only effective treatment is weight loss.

Understanding how growth hormone reduces liver fat and inflammation in persons with NAFLD could lead to new targeted treatments.

New research presented today at ENDO 2022, found that in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), growth hormone improved liver health by decreasing liver fat and inflammation.

It is estimated that up to 80 percent of obese adults in the United States have NAFLD, which is prevalent in up to 25 percent of the global population. The progressive form of NAFLD is nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

NASH is characterized by inflammation and cell destruction in the liver, as well as hepatic fibrosis.

Cirrhosis, or liver failure, can result from NASH with extensive fibrosis. In the United States, NASH-cirrhosis is one of the primary causes of liver transplantation.

Researchers were interested in the effects of growth hormone in NAFLD because of the recognized benefits of growth hormone therapy for lowering body fat and inflammation.

“We know that higher body weight is associated with relatively lower growth hormone levels and higher rates of NAFLD and NASH,” explained lead researcher Laura Dichtel.

“We wanted to find out whether growth hormone administration in otherwise healthy adults with overweight/obesity and NAFLD would improve liver fat, inflammation and fibrosis.”

In a randomized, double-blind study, the researchers looked at 41 people who were given either growth hormone or a placebo for six months.

When comparing the growth hormone group to the placebo group, they discovered that liver fat and a composite measure of liver inflammation and fibrosis, both evaluated by MRI, improved in the growth hormone group.

Inflammation indicators and liver function tests both improved. The growth hormone was well tolerated, and there were no worries about its safety.

These new findings bring “us a step closer to understanding how our own hormones impact NAFLD,” Dichtel added. “These results are very exciting, as they show that increasing the body’s growth hormone level can improve liver health in patients with NAFLD.”

Image Credit: Getty

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