New evidence shows that it is possible to stop fatty liver disease from progressing using mineral supplements in the form of dietary supplement known as Aquamin.
Scientists say that this is a simple and effective way to reduce the long-term health consequences of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Aquamin, which is derived from calcified red marine algae, is rich in calcium, magnesium and 72 other minerals and trace elements.
About 25% of people in the U.S are affected by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is characterized by an excess of fat stored in the liver. Some people with this disease develop a more aggressive form known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in which the liver is inflamed. This can progress to fibrosis, advanced scarring known as cirrhosis, liver failure and cancer.
In preliminary studies, the researchers fed mice a high-fat diet to induce the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and NASH. They studied these mice for 15 to 18 months to observe the full spectrum of liver disease, including advanced fibrotic changes and liver cancer.
These studies revealed a dramatic reduction in late-stage consequences of NASH in the animals that were fed the high-fat diet and received the multi-mineral supplement, compared to those that didn’t receive the supplement. In short-term studies lasting about 24 weeks, the researchers identified protein changes associated with the NASH and reduced tumor formation in the longer studies.
Because the short- and long-term studies were performed using different types of mice, the researchers next plan to perform both sets of studies in the same animals. This will allow them to identify early protein changes in individual animals that may predict later consequences or be associated with protection from such consequences.
They recently completed a 90-day pilot phase trial in 30 healthy patients at risk for colorectal cancer who were randomized to receive Aquamin or a placebo. The trial showed that the mineral supplement didn’t pose any safety or tolerability issues, including any potential liver damage. They are also starting to conduct pilot clinical studies to assess Aquamin for safety and tolerability for 180 days. Liver injury and inflammation markers will be part of the study endpoints.