Patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are being encouraged to take more exercise, according to a new study by Australian researchers.
Those with the condition experience elevated liver enzymes and are at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity, brought on by metabolic syndrome.
Some are advised to control these risks with altering their diet, but the researchers at Sydney West Area Health Service wanted patients to focus on increasing the amount of exercise they do each day.
One group in the 141-person study was given custom exercise plans and worked with exercise scientists to determine how they would be physically active for around 150 minutes a week. This group displayed improvements in their liver enzyme output and metabolic functions, independent from any weight loss experienced.
Meanwhile, the control group, had a more sedentary lifestyle did not show any metabolic improvements, and some even experienced a decline in overall health.
"We hypothesize that the threshold for change in liver enzymes may be low so that even a slight increase in physical activity is sufficient to improve liver tests," researchers concluded in their paper, published on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).