Can Exercise Reduce Fatty Liver?

How Fats Are Accumulated In Liver?

The accumulation of fat in the liver among individuals who avoid alcohol is an emerging problem. The release of adipokines from adipose tissue is the important factor for increase in liver fat content. The free fatty acid from abdominal adipose tissue is another triggering factor because of excess dietary fat intake. The free fatty acid from visceral fat or belly fat is transported through the portal vein to the liver which is scientifically proven facts. It is found more in women when compared to men. However, more than 50–60 percent of the delivery of free fatty acids to the liver comes from the systemic circulation.

Can Exercise Reduce Fatty Liver?

Can Exercise Reduce Fatty Liver?

Physical activity is the most distinguished way of preventing and improving the incident of fatty liver disease. It is effective and protective only in individuals who never consume alcohol or moderate drinkers. The protective effect can be increased with higher intensity of physical activity. Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia are common risk factors associated fatty liver disease. The primary role of physician is to educate the patients about the importance of weight loss and lifestyle changes. As there is no specific treatment for fatty changes, weight loss and exercise are effective ways to improve the syndrome. The objective of disease management should be to prevent liver related complications and fatalities by reversing the fatty changes associated with this condition.

Some Therapeutic Agents to Treat Fatty Liver Disease

Statins is a well-known class of anti-cholesterol drugs that lowers the blood level of cholesterol by reducing the production of cholesterol by the liver. All statins are safe in NAFLD and among statin, pravastatin and atrovastatin had showed significant histological improvement. Prolonged administration of satins 10–16 years had showed a significant reduction in steatosis. Medications given for reducing obesity such as orlistat has shown good efficacy with improvement seen on ultrasound and histology with also significant improvement in levels of ALT. Anidiabetic medication has a prominent role to play in the management of NAFLD. For example, metformin is efficacious for insulin resistance but should be avoided in patients with advanced liver failure.


The mechanism of pathogenesis NAFLD is not yet established. One reason is insulin resistance, which is reported in majority of peoples with obesity. Insulin resistance can cause an increase in supply of free fatty acids to the liver. There is also decreased uptake of glucose seen by the skeletal muscles and adipose tissues in the fed causing increased sugar levels and rerouting of glucose to the hepatic pathway. Additionally, fatty food may also cause nonalcoholic steatohepatitis which is also a form of NAFLD. Overconsumption of glucose is also linked to increased de novo lipogenesis thus facilitating NAFLD.


Physical activity is a prompt way for preventing incidence of fatty liver disease. It is effective in reduce of the future risk of incident fatty liver in people with never or moderate alcohol consumption. However, physical activity has no effect in heavy alcohol drinkers.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 12, 2019

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