Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a constellation of progressive liver disorders that are closely related to obesity, diabetes, and insulin resistance and may afflict over 70 million Americans. NAFLD may occur as relatively benign, nonprogressive liver steatosis, but in many individuals it may progress in severity to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and liver failure or hepatocellular carcinoma. No validated treatments currently exist for NAFLD except for weight loss, which has a poor long-term success rate. Thus, dietary strategies that prevent the development of liver steatosis or its progression to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis are critically needed. Green tea is rich in polyphenolic catechins that have hypolipidemic, thermogenic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities that may mitigate the occurrence and progression of NAFLD. This review presents the experimental evidence demonstrating the hepatoprotective properties of green tea and its catechins and the proposed mechanisms by which these targeted dietary agents protect against NAFLD.
© 2012 International Life Sciences Institute.