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Diet and exercise can improve kidney function in patients with fatty liver disease

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Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a potentially serious liver condition characterized by excess fat in the liver associated with inflammation and scarring. NASH may progress to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer, and it can also compromise kidney function.

In a post hoc analysis of a large clinical trial, patients with biopsy-confirmed NASH who consumed a low-fat/low-calorie diet and participated in an exercise program often experienced reduced liver inflammation and scarring. Importantly, in patients whose liver disease improved, there was also an improvement in kidney function even after several adjustments by potential confounding factors such as diabetes, hypertension, concurrent medications and weight loss by itself.

"The exact mechanism to explain these findings have not yet been entirely elucidated; however, it may be a reflection of the improvement in oxidative stress, insulin sensitivity, inflammation, and vascular endothelial function and permeability that may contribute to positive changes in kidney function," said Dr. Naga Chalasani, senior author of the Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics analysis.

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