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According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, moderate-to-intense exercise of 150 minutes per week can maintain good health. Broken down, this is around 22 minutes per day. However, Penn State College of Medicine researchers have established that reaching this target for exercise may help protect people from liver disease.

Exercise can prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. 

Associate professor and hepatologist at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Jonathan Stine said the research findings could give doctors the assurance they need to suggest exercise as a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) treatment. While helping patients modify their habits to be more fit and healthy, healthcare and exercise providers will find it helpful to have a target level of exercise to aim for when creating tailored approaches.

The prevalence of NAFLD is close to 30% worldwide. Contrary to liver disease brought on by excessive alcohol consumption, NAFLD is frequently a result of obesity, Type II diabetes, elevated blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, or high cholesterol.

Even graver side effects like cirrhosis and cancer may develop when the illness progresses. Even worse, there are no recognized treatments or medications for the illness. It is, for this reason, crucial to understand that exercise, which is normally available to most individuals, can minimize liver fat while also enhancing general well-being and enjoyment of life.

The amount of exercise to yield improvement is unknown.

According to Stine, past studies have been unable to pinpoint the precise amount of exercise, or what “dose,” is required to yield clinically meaningful improvements. In total, 551 individuals with NAFLD who took part in controlled, randomized studies with exercise therapies were included in the 14 studies that they reviewed. Age, BMI, sex, change in body size, compliance with the exercise regimens, and liver fat levels assessed by MRI were among the information they looked at.

A 30% relative decrease in liver fat, as shown by MRI, was required for the effect to be deemed clinically meaningful. According to studies, exercising is three times as likely to result in these outcomes than standard medical treatment.