Hepatoprotective effects of Shilajit on high fat-diet induced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in rats

Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig. 2020 Feb 14;41(1):/j/hmbci.2020.41.issue-1/hmbci-2019-0040/hmbci-2019-0040.xml. doi: 10.1515/hmbci-2019-0040.


Background Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the main common cause of chronic liver disease. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of Shilajit, a medicine of Ayurveda, on the liver damage caused by NAFLD. Materials and methods Forty male Wistar rats, after being established as fatty liver models by feeding a high-fat diet (HFD, 12 weeks), were divided randomly into five groups as follows: control (standard diet), vehicle (HFD + distilled water), high-dose Shilajit (HFD + 250 mg/kg Shilajit), low-dose Shilajit (HFD + 150 mg/kg Shilajit) and pioglitazone (HFD + 10 mg/kg pioglitazone). The serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), glucose and liver glutathione peroxidase (GPx), superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, liver weight, and histopathological manifestation outcomes were measured after the 2-week intervention. Results Shilajit treatment significantly reduced the values of AST and ALT, TG, TC, LDL, glucose, liver weight, and steatosis, and instead, increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) compared with the vehicle group (p < 0.05). Further, Shilajit treatment improved the adverse effects of HFD-induced histopathological changes in the liver as compared with the vehicle group (p < 0.001). MDA level and GPx activity increased but SOD activity decreased in the vehicle group compared with the control group (p < 0.05), while treatment with Shilajit restored the antioxidant/oxidant balance toward a significant increase in the antioxidant system in the Shilajit group (p < 0.05). Conclusions These findings suggest that Shilajit improved the histopathological NAFLD changes in the liver and indicated the potential applicability of Shilajit as a potent agent for NAFLD treatment.

Keywords: Shilajit; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; oxidative stress; pioglitazone.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / genetics
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / metabolism
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Minerals / administration & dosage
  • Minerals / pharmacology
  • Minerals / therapeutic use*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / drug therapy*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / etiology
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Resins, Plant / administration & dosage
  • Resins, Plant / pharmacology
  • Resins, Plant / therapeutic use*


  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Minerals
  • Resins, Plant
  • mumie