05 June 2020 In Liver Disease

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Moderate alcohol intake is associated with reduced prevalence or incidence of fatty liver. However, whether or not the association is independent of dietary patterns remains unclear. We aimed to evaluate the cross-sectional association of alcohol intake with fatty liver after accounting for dietary patterns and obesity.

METHODS: We assessed 4579 adults aged 30-79 years who participated in routine clinical examinations in St. Luke's International Hospital, Japan (January to March, 2015). We assessed their habitual diet using diet-history questionnaire, estimated alcohol intake, and derived dietary pattern variables using factor analysis. Fatty liver was ascertained using ultrasonography. Linear and U-shaped associations of alcohol intake with fatty liver were evaluated using Poisson regression, and a post hoc analysis was conducted after detecting potential outliers for alcohol intake and excluding them using sex-specific statistics (median plus 2 x interquartile range).

RESULTS: Fatty liver was ascertained in 1120 participants (24.5%). Whereas no significant association of alcohol intake with fatty liver was observed when potential outliers of alcohol intake were included (p = 0.25), a significant U-shaped association was observed after excluding the outliers with and without adjustment for dietary patterns (p = 0.003 and 0.02, respectively). The lowest prevalence was estimated when alcohol consumption was approximately 7% of energy, with a prevalence ratio of 0.72 (95% confidence interval = 0.59-0.86) compared to non-drinkers. The association became imprecise and attenuated toward the null after further adjustment for body mass index (p = 0.06).

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol intake showed a U-shaped association with fatty liver prevalence. This association was independent of underlying dietary patterns, while it was sensitive to excessive alcohol intake and obesity status, providing clinical implications for the prevention of fatty liver.

05 June 2020 In Liver Disease

Alcohol and obesity are the main risk factors for alcoholic liver disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), respectively, and they frequently coexist. There are considerable synergistic interaction effects between hazardous alcohol use and obesity-associated metabolic abnormalities in the development and progression of fatty liver disease.

Intermittent binge-drinking has been shown to promote steatohepatitis from obesity-related steatosis, and binge-drinking is associated with progression to cirrhosis even when average alcohol intake is within the currently used criteria for a NAFLD diagnosis.

Recent longitudinal studies in NAFLD have shown that light-to-moderate alcohol use is associated with fibrosis progression and incident clinical liver disease, suggesting that there is no liver-safe limit of alcohol intake in the presence of NAFLD; a J: -shaped association between alcohol and all-cause mortality remains controversial.

The interaction effects between alcohol and obesity make the present strict dichotomization of liver disease into alcoholic and NAFLD inappropriate, and require attention in future research, public health policy, individual counseling, and risk stratification.

04 May 2020 In Liver Disease

Background/Aims: Multiple meta-analyses and observational studies have reported that alcohol is a risk factor for liver cancer. However, whether there is a safe level of alcohol consumption remains unclear. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of the correlation between low-level alcohol consumption and the risk of liver cancer.

Methods: Nested case-control studies and cohort studies involving the general population published prior to July 2019 were searched. In total, 28 publications (31 cohorts) with 4,899 incident cases and 10,859 liver cancer-related deaths were included. The pooled odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated.

Results: Compared with those with low levels of alcohol consumption, moderate and heavy drinkers (>/=1 drink/day for females and >/=2 drinks/day for males) had pooled ORs of 1.418 (95% CI, 1.192 to 1.687; p<0.001) for liver cancer incidence and 1.167 (95% CI, 1.056 to 1.290; p=0.003) for liver cancer mortality. The pooled OR for liver disease-related mortality for those with more than low levels of alcohol consumption was 3.220 (95% CI, 2.116 to 4.898; p<0.001) and that for all-cause mortality was 1.166 (95% CI, 1.065 to 1.278; p=0.001). The sensitivity analysis showed that none of the studies had a strong effect on the pooled OR. The Egger test, Begg rank correlation test, and the funnel plot showed no overt indication of publication bias.

Conclusions: Continuous consumption of more than a low-level of alcohol (>/=1 drink/day for females and >/=2 drinks/day for males) is related to a higher risk of liver cancer.

24 January 2020 In Liver Disease

OBJECTIVE: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver morbidity. This condition often is accompanied by obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome (MetS). The aim of this study was to evaluate the connection between lifestyle factors and NAFLD in individuals with MetS.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study with 328 participants (55-75 y of age) diagnosed with MetS participating in the PREDIMED-Plus trial was conducted. NAFLD status was evaluated using the non-invasive hepatic steatosis index (HSI). Sociodemographic, clinical, and dietary data were collected. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet (mainly assessed by the consumption of olive oil, nuts, legumes, whole grain foods, fish, vegetables, fruits, and red wine) and physical activity were assessed using validated questionnaires.

RESULTS: Linear regression analyses revealed that HSI values tended to be lower with increasing physical activity tertiles (T2, beta = -1.47; 95% confidence interval [CI], -2.73 to -0.20; T3, beta = -1.93; 95% CI, -3.22 to -0.65 versus T1, Ptrend = 0.001) and adherence to the Mediterranean diet was inversely associated with HSI values: (moderate adherence beta = -0.70; 95% CI, -1.92 to 0.53; high adherence beta = -1.57; 95% CI, -3.01 to -0.13 versus lower, Ptrend = 0.041). Higher tertiles of legume consumption were inversely associated with the highest tertile of HSI (T2, relative risk ratio [RRR], 0.45; 95% CI, 0.22-0.92; P = 0.028; T3, RRR, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.24-0.97; P = 0.041 versus T1).

CONCLUSION: Physical activity, adherence to the Mediterranean diet, and consumption of legumes were inversely associated with a non-invasive marker of NAFLD in individuals with MetS. This data can be useful in implementing precision strategies aimed at the prevention, monitoring, and management of NAFLD.

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