Supervised aerobic exercise may improve fatty liver

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Goodfellow Gems

Supervised aerobic exercise may improve fatty liver

 In a study of 24 participants with fatty liver disease; 8 chose to be in the control group and 16 in the exercise-only intervention group.1 Everyone had two liver biopsies. The exercise intervention comprised three to five aerobic exercise sessions per week (two exercise specialist-led supervised exercise sessions and one to three unsupervised exercise sessions) for 12 weeks. The control group received usual care.

There were significant reductions in two measures of liver histology, but none achieved the 7-10% weight loss recommended for improving fatty liver, and there were no changes in liver enzymes. Exercise gains were not maintained over the subsequent 12 weeks.

While encouraging, finding ways to enable patients to keep up this level of intense exercise may be needed to get these changes into the general population of patients with fatty liver disease.


  1. Improvement in histological endpoints of MAFLD following a 12-week aerobic exercise intervention Alimentary Pharmacology Therapeutics (2020). View here

Gems are chosen by the Goodfellow director Dr. Bruce Arroll to be either practice changing or practice maintaining. The information is educational and not clinical advice.

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