What is the role of exercise in the treatment of fatty liver disease?

Updated: Apr 12, 2018
  • Author: Emily Tommolino, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Multiple human studies have shown that exercise added to diet appears to improve the results and increase insulin sensitivity by increasing muscle mass. Exercise that includes both cardiovascular fitness and weight training should improve NASH. Cardiovascular fitness often results in weight loss. Weight training will increase the muscle mass and improve insulin sensitivity. Combining these two activities helps relieve the underlying derangements of NASH.

Even regular exercise that is not associated with weight loss has been shown to improve fatty liver disease. [42, 45, 46] An Australian study evaluating just 4 weeks of cycling exercise found that despite no change in body weight, liver cholesterol levels improved. [45] A California study involving more than 800 adults with fatty liver found that vigorous exercise was associated with less severe scar tissue in the liver. [46] Most experts agree that walking for 20 minutes 5-7 days a week can stabilize liver disease.

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