The potential of flavonoids in the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Mar 4;57(4):834-855. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2014.952399.


The contemporary pathophysiological model of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) comprises multiple parallel pathways with a dynamic cross talk that cumulate in steatosis and inflammation, and ultimately fibrosis, cirrhosis, liver failure, and hepatocellular carcinoma. So far, no pharmacological treatment has been approved. A major impediment of drugs, in general, is that they are intended to act on one single target in the pathology of a disease. However, the multitude of pathways involved in the pathogenesis of NAFLD underpins the need for treatments that address these various pathways. Interestingly, flavonoids have been found to have positive effects on lipid metabolism, insulin resistance, inflammation, and oxidative stress, the most important pathophysiological pathways in NAFLD. This puts flavonoids in the spotlight for the treatment of NAFLD and prompted us to review the existing evidence for the use of these food-derived compounds in the treatment of NAFLD.

Keywords: NAFLD; antioxidants; non-alcoholic steatohepatitis; oxidative stress; polyphenols.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Flavonoids / chemistry
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / drug therapy*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / etiology
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Flavonoids