Sydney: Even a short and moderate regime of daily exercise benefits obese and overweight adults with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a common cause of chronic liver disease, suggests a study.
What is more, the researchers found that exercise, regardless of volume or intensity, benefits NAFLD patients even in the absence of weight loss.
NAFLD is commonly associated with obesity and diabetes.
"The results from our study show that all exercise doses, irrespective of volume or intensity, were efficacious in reducing liver fat and visceral fat by an amount that was clinically significant, in previously inactive, overweight, or obese adults compared with placebo," explained lead investigator Nathan Johnson from the University of Sydney, Australia.
"These changes were observed without clinically significant weight loss," Johnson pointed out.
For the study, 48 participants were divided into four equal groups of 12 people: low-to-moderate intensity, high-volume aerobic exercise; high-intensity, low-volume aerobic exercise; low-to-moderate intensity, low-volume aerobic exercise; and placebo for an eight-week period.
Change in liver fat was assessed by magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS).
All three groups, irrespective of the exercise regimen, showed improvement in liver fat of about 18-29 percent from the average baseline 7.5 percent, compared with the placebo group in which liver fat increased by an average of 14 percent.
The improvement was independent of weight loss.
There are no approved drug treatments for NAFLD, but lifestyle interventions such as diet, exercise, and the resulting weight loss have been shown to help improve the condition.
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