Grapes may ease liver disease: study

February 7, 2011

University of Queensland Diamantina Institute PhD student, Veronique Chachay, hopes to determine if a nutrient found in grape skin could hold the key to better managing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Ms. Chachay is currently recruiting people to participate in an eight-week clinical trial. She is interested in hearing from men aged between 18 and 65 years with abdominal obesity, who have been diagnosed with fatty liver, and who are not taking any diabetic medication.

Resveratrol (RSV), an antioxidant nutrient found in about 300 plants including grape skin, peanuts and berries, has been found to benefit cardiovascular health, and early clinical trials are under way to determine any benefits for and treatment, degenerative and aging diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

Ms. Chachay said that the study could offer insights into a sustainable solution to a growing problem, with 30 percent of the general population and up to 98 percent of patients with and showing the signs of NAFLD, but no pharmacological treatment currently available.

"By 2020, NAFLD is predicted to become the main reason for referrals to liver transplants. If RSV can help before the disease progresses to , it could help reduce significantly the burden on the healthcare system," Ms. Chachay said.

She said preliminary findings had been encouraging that RSV may assist in maintaining better metabolic and liver health despite high-energy diets and sedentary lifestyles.

"Weight loss is a good solution to healthier livers, but it is often hard to achieve and maintain over time. RSV could work together with lifestyle changes to offer a more sustainable solution to the long-term management of NAFLD," Ms. Chachay said.

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