Resveratrol may help prevent and treat fatty liver in alcohol abusers

October 27, 2008

Scientists looking for ways to help treat fatty livers have discovered that an ingredient in red wine known as Resveratrol can help protect from -- and possibly even be used to treat fat buildup in the liver that goes hand-in-hand with chronic alcohol use. Most Americans have likely heard about the antioxidant found in red wine, grapes, berries, and peanuts. Resveratrol has previously been linked to health benefits for cancer and heart disease, and extending the length of a healthy life.
The study, led by Joanne M. Ajmo at the University of South Florida Health Sciences Center in Tampa, looked at the effects of Resveratrol in alcoholic fatty livers of mice. The scientists found that the alcohol-fed mice who were supplemented with Resveratrol had less fat in their livers and the fat broke down more quickly than alcohol-fed mice not given a Resveratrol supplement.

The researchers note that Resveratrol has been shown to activate molecules that are also important in fat metabolism in the liver. Chronic alcohol abuse inhibits these molecules. In this study, alcohol-fed mice treated with Resveratrol also had enhanced activity of these protective molecules in their livers. "Collectively, these results demonstrate that Resveratrol treatment protected against the development of alcoholic [fatty liver] in mice," they write. The study appears in the October 2008 issue of The American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology.