A study in Cell Metabolism carried out by researchers from Sweden, looked at how a carbohydrate-restricted diet enhanced metabolism and improved liver fat levels in the body.

In conducting the study, the research team put 10 individuals who were obese and had a high percentage of liver fat on a diet that restricted their carbohydrate consumption and increased protein intake in a span of two weeks. The researchers also gathered clinical and big data analysis in order to identify the subsequent changes in metabolism and gut bacteria. They relied on a combination of systems medicine and advanced clinical studies, as well as integrating multiple data sets from the body’s omes, such as genome, proteome, and transcriptome in order to determine biomarkers.

Results of the study showed that the study participants exhibited quick and significant reductions in liver fat and other cardiometabolic risk factors, as well as marked reductions, in the synthesis of hepatic fat. The metabolism of harmful hepatic lipids was strongly linked to rapid increases in B vitamins and the bacteria that produce folic acid. This occurred together with a reduction in the expression of genes that contribute to the synthesis of fatty acid and a boost in the expression of genes that take part in folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism and fatty acid oxidation.

In conclusion, a low-carbohydrate diet enhanced liver fat metabolism in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The diet boosted rapid changes in the composition of the gut microbiota of NAFLD patients, and these low-carbohydrate diet-induced changes were linked to an increased circulation folate. In addition, the diet increased folate-dependent one-carbon metabolism gene expression in the liver.

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