Fatty Liver Improves with Probiotics – High-Level Scientific Evidence

The gut and the liver may be more connected than you expect: probiotics can reduce liver enzymes from non-alcoholic fatty liver. A recent meta-analysis showed that two liver enzymes, ALT and AST, a byproduct of liver damage, were significantly reduced in test patients when taking lactobacillus-bifidobacterium blends of probiotics. Insulin resistance also improved. If you’re struggling with a liver condition, it’s important to consider the impact of your gut health.


Dr. Michael Ruscio, DC: Hey everyone. This is Dr. Ruscio. I just wanted to quickly touch on the gut-liver connection. Now, if you haven’t heard of this or you’re not familiar with the anatomy, everything in your digestive tract drains to and is filtered by your liver, via what’s known as a portal vein. And this is how we can see problems with the liver ultimately caused by a problem in the gut. I’d like to share with you the results of a very exciting meta-analysis—a study that summarizes many studies—that illustrates the profundity of this connection.

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Dr. R’s Fast Facts Summary

Study

Conclusion

  • Probiotic therapies can reduce liver aminotransferases, total-cholesterol, TNF-α and improve insulin resistance in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients
  • Modulation of the gut microbiota represents a new treatment for NAFLD
  • Probiotics used were predominantly: Lactobacillus sp. and Bifidobacterium sp

Duration

  • 2-6 months

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Probiotics

This study was entitled: Effects of Probiotics on Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Meta-Analysis. Essentially they found that two of the most predominant liver enzymes which will go high when people have problems with their liver, the ALT and the AST, were shown to be significantly reduced when using probiotics.

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Natural Fatty Liver Treatment

Remember, this is a meta-analysis, so it summarized the results of four clinical trials, looking at 134 total patients. It’s a decent sample size looking at four different clinical trials using probiotics. The study shows a significant ability to lower ALT and AST, two of the enzymes that your doctor would order and analyze on a lab panel to assess the health of your liver. This left the researchers to conclude that probiotic therapies can reduce liver enzymes, total cholesterol, TNF-alpha, which is an inflammatory marker, and improve insulin resistance in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients. Modulation of the gut microbiota represents a new treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Probiotics

So, great news. Regarding what type of probiotics, these were mainly lactobacillus-bifidobacterium blends, like our lacto-bifido blend probiotic that we use in my clinic and I recommend in Healthy Gut, Healthy You. And the duration of time that the probiotics were used was between two to six months. So a simple intervention of a well-formulated probiotic can have a significant impact on decreasing liver enzymes.

Liver Detox: The Gut Connection

What is likely happening there—this is my opinion—is that the probiotics are improving gut health, and as the gut gets healthier, there is less mess in the gut that needs to drain to and be cleaned up by the liver. Then the liver is less overworked and is able to heal and regenerate. Therefore, there are fewer liver enzymes.

the probiotics are improving gut health, and as the gut gets healthier, there is less mess in the gut that needs to drain to and be cleaned up by the liver Click To Tweet

Remember, the liver enzymes are a byproduct of liver damage. These enzymes essentially spill out of the liver when the liver is overworked and damaged and can’t regenerate and repair itself. So those liver enzymes truly are an indicator of liver damage and liver inflammation. And again, the probiotics—likely by improving gut health—take a burden off the liver and therefore lower liver enzymes.

So something to think about if you’re struggling with a liver condition, especially elevated liver enzymes, is a probiotic and any other therapeutic options that may improve your gut health. This is Dr. Ruscio. Hopefully, this helps you get healthy and get back to your life. Thanks.

What do you think? I would like to hear your thoughts or experience with this.

Discussion

I care about answering your questions and sharing my knowledge with you. Leave a comment or connect with me on social media asking any health question you may have and I just might incorporate it into our next listener questions podcast episode just for you!