The Role of Metformin in the Management of NAFLD

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disorder worldwide. Its prevalence ranges 10–24% in the general population, reaching 60–95% and 28–55% in obese and diabetic patients, respectively. Although the etiology of NAFLD is still unclear, several lines of evidences have indicated a pathogenetic role of insulin resistance in this disorder. This concept has stimulated several clinical studies where antidiabetic drugs, such as insulin sensitizers including metformin, have been evaluated in insulin-resistant, NAFLD patients. These studies indicate that metformin might be of benefit in the treatment of NAFLD, also in nondiabetic patients, when associated to hypocaloric diet and weight control. However, the heterogeneity of these studies still prevents us from reaching firm conclusions about treatment guidelines. Moreover, metformin could have beneficial tissue-specific effects in NAFLD patients irrespective of its effects as insulin sensitizer.

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  • The best way to avoid NAFLD is to minimise fructose intake and foods that spike insulin such as sugar, flour, potatoes, processed cereals (even high fibre cereals), rice, most grains, baked beans, broad beans, fruit yoghurt, parsnips, pumpkin, dates, ripe banana, pineapple, melon, and excess protein.

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