Aim: To assess the effectiveness of the current UK clinical practice in reducing hepatic fat (IHCL).
Methods: Whole body MRI and (1)H MRS were obtained, before and after 6 mo nutritional counselling, from liver, soleus and tibialis muscles in 10 subjects with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Results: A 500 Kcal-restricted diet resulted in an average weight loss of 4% (-3.4 kg,) accompanied by significant reductions in most adipose tissue (AT) depots, including subcutaneous (-9.9%), abdominal subcutaneous (-10.2%) and intra-abdominal-AT (-11.4%). Intramyocellular lipids (IMCL) were significantly reduced in the tibialis muscle (-28.2%). Decreases in both IHCL (-39.9%) and soleus IMCL (-12.2%) content were also observed, although these were not significant. Several individuals showed dramatic decreases in IHCL, while others paradoxically showed increases in IHCL content. Changes in body composition were accompanied by improvements in certain liver function tests: serum aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). Significant correlations were found between decreases in IHCL and reductions in both intra-abdominal and abdominal subcutaneous AT. Improvements in liver function tests were associated with reductions in intra-abdominal AT, but not with changes in IHCL.
Conclusion: This study shows that even a very modest reduction in body weight achieved through lifestyle modification can result in changes in body fat depots and improvements in LFTs.