It Is High Time Physicians Thought of Natural Products for Alleviating NAFLD. Is There Sufficient Evidence to Use Them?

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Dec 14;22(24):13424. doi: 10.3390/ijms222413424.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common form of liver disease all over the world due to the obesity pandemic; currently, therapeutic options for NAFLD are scarce, except for diet recommendations and physical activity. NAFLD is characterized by excessive accumulation of fat deposits (>5%) in the liver with subsequent inflammation and fibrosis. Studies in the literature show that insulin resistance (IR) may be considered as the key mechanism in the onset and progression of NAFLD. Recently, using natural products as an alternative approach in the treatment of NAFLD has drawn growing attention among physicians. In this review, the authors present the most recent randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and lines of evidence from animal models about the efficacy of nutraceutics in alleviating NAFLD. Among the most studied substances in the literature, the following molecules were chosen because of their presence in the literature of both clinical and preclinical studies: spirulina, oleuropein, garlic, berberine, resveratrol, curcumin, ginseng, glycyrrhizin, coffee, cocoa powder, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, and bromelain.

Keywords: NAFLD; RCTs; animal models; natural products; nutraceutics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Liver* / metabolism
  • Liver* / pathology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / drug therapy
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / metabolism
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / pathology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Biological Products