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Med Hypotheses. 2011 Oct;77(4):550-6. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2011.06.029. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

Full-spectrum antioxidant therapy featuring astaxanthin coupled with lipoprivic strategies and salsalate for management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

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NutriGuard Research, 1051 Hermes Ave., Encinitas, CA 92024, United States.


Owing to the worldwide epidemic of obesity, and the popularity of diets rich in sugar and saturated fat, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is increasingly common; it is usually associated with insulin resistance, and may be considered a component of the metabolic syndrome. The pathologies which can complicate hepatic steatosis--steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatic cancer--appear to result from an interaction of hepatic lipid overload and hepatic oxidative stress. It is therefore proposed that comprehensive regimens which effectively target each of these precipitating factors should achieve the best therapeutic benefit in NAFLD. Appropriate weight loss, and a diet low in saturated fat, glycemic index, and added sugars, should decrease hepatic lipid load. Measures which enhance adipocyte insulin sensitivity--such as pioglitazone, astaxanthin, and spirulina--may also be helpful in this regard, as may agents that boost hepatocyte capacity for fatty acid oxidation, such as metformin, carnitine, hydroxycitrate, long-chain omega-3 fats, and glycine. Astaxanthin and spirulina appear to have considerable potential for controlling the oxidative stress associated with NAFLD - the former because it may help to prevent the mitochondrial damage that renders mitochondria a key source of superoxide in this syndrome, the latter because it is exceptionally rich in phycocyanobilin, a phytochemical inhibitor of NAPDH oxidase. Other antioxidants which show some promise in this syndrome include high-dose folate, lipoic acid, melatonin, N-acetylcysteine, vitamin E, and taurine. Finally, treatment with salsalate, an inhibitor of IkappaB kinase-beta, has potential for blunting the adverse impact of hepatic steatosis on oxidative stress and inflammation.

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