Cases of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), in which excess fat accumulates in the liver, are estimated to rise 21% in the US by 2030. But now it appears that beneficial probiotic gut microbes (and the prebiotics that feed them) may decrease the inflammation associated with this disorder.
An Iranian research team split 75 NAFLD patients into four groups: one that received probiotics daily, one that received prebiotics, one that received both and one that received a placebo.
Compared to volunteers in the placebo group, those in the other three groups all lost weight and experienced reductions in body mass index, waist circumference and hip circumference, in addition to seeing their levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, a marker of inflammation go down and levels of total antioxidant capacity go up.
Participants who received both pro- and prebiotics also saw marked reductions in C-reactive protein, another inflammation marker, according to results published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition.