What is it about?

We review the literature in human patients and in rodent models describing how exercise can prevent and treat excessive fat storage in the liver (hepatic steatosis) which is linked to obesity and a poor diet. The review suggests that insufficient exercise behavior may be a bigger driver of hepatic steatosis than obesity or diet.

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Why is it important?

Hepatic steatosis, or the excess storage of fat in the liver, plays a foundational role in the metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and further liver injury including fibrosis and cirrhosis.


We are hoping for the medical community and the lay public to fully recognize that body weight status is not the single most important factor in determining susceptibility for hepatic steatosis and metabolic disease. In contrast, daily exercise and physical activity behavior is critical for avoiding excessive fat storage in the liver in addition to protecting against type 2 diabetes and all metabolic pathologies.

John Thyfault
University of Kansas Medical Center

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Exercise Combats Hepatic Steatosis: Potential Mechanisms and Clinical Implications, Diabetes, March 2020, American Diabetes Association,
DOI: 10.2337/dbi18-0043.
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