Chemoprevention of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease by dietary natural compounds

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2014 Jan;58(1):147-71. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201300522. Epub 2013 Dec 3.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) refers to a wide spectrum of liver disease that is not from excess alcohol consumption, but is often associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. NAFLD pathogenesis is complicated and involves oxidative stress, lipotoxicity, mitochondrial damage, insulin resistance, inflammation, and excessive dietary fat intake, which increase hepatic lipid influx and de novo lipogenesis and impair insulin signaling, thus promoting hepatic triglyceride accumulation and ultimately NAFLD. Overproduction of proinflammatory adipokines from adipose tissue also affects hepatic metabolic function. Current NAFLD therapies are limited; thus, much attention has been focused on identification of potential dietary substances from fruits, vegetables, and edible plants to provide a new strategy for NAFLD treatment. Dietary natural compounds, such as carotenoids, omega-3-PUFAs, flavonoids, isothiocyanates, terpenoids, curcumin, and resveratrol, act through a variety of mechanisms to prevent and improve NAFLD. Here, we summarize and briefly discuss the currently known targets and signaling pathways as well as the role of dietary natural compounds that interfere with NAFLD pathogenesis.

Keywords: Chemoprevention; Dietary natural compounds; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Carotenoids / chemistry
  • Carotenoids / pharmacology*
  • Carotenoids / therapeutic use
  • Curcumin / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism
  • Fatty Liver / physiopathology*
  • Fatty Liver / prevention & control*
  • Flavonols / chemistry
  • Flavonols / pharmacology
  • Flavonols / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Polyphenols / pharmacology*
  • Polyphenols / therapeutic use
  • Resveratrol
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology


  • Adipokines
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Flavonols
  • Polyphenols
  • Stilbenes
  • Carotenoids
  • Curcumin
  • Resveratrol