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Study: Periodic fasting lowers fatty liver index

Steffanie Hornstein - 24/11/2019 - 0 comments

Periodic fasting according to the Buchinger Wilhelmi programme reduces fat accumulation in the liver (fatty liver) and can thus prevent liver cirrhosis.

The pathological accumulation of fat in the liver and is a major cause of a worldwide increase in chronic liver disease and can lead to cirrhosis. Periodic fasting over 8.5 days on average lowers the fatty liver index (FLI), a risk parameter for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. A fatty liver significantly promotes the development of type 2 diabetes and is exacerbated by overeating and lack of exercise.

A study entitled “Effects of Periodic Fasting on Fatty Liver Index – A Prospective Observational Study” published in the journal Nutrients in October surveyed 697 people who fasted at the Clinic Buchinger Wilhelmi on Lake Constance. Among the participants were 38 subjects with type 2 diabetes. At the beginning of the study, a fatty liver was diagnosed in 264 cases: the FLI was ≥ 60, indicating the presence of a fatty liver; 160 were at the permitted limit.

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 The study demonstrated the following:

  • Periodic fasting in this study significantly reduced the FLI by 14.02 ± 11.67 points, with diabetic subjects benefiting even more (-19.15 ± 11.0 points).
  • Almost half of the patients assigned to the highest risk category (FLI ≥ 60) were able to switch to a lower-risk category.
  • Significant weight loss of 4.37 ± 2.42 kg and an abdominal circumference reduction of 5.39 ± 3.27 cm were also documented in all patients. Subjects exhibited lower blood glucose and HbA1c levels, and their liver enzymes and blood lipids also decreased.
  • Fasting over a longer period, higher weight loss and a greater reduction in abdominal circumference improved the FLI considerably. In addition, male patients who initially had higher FLI, GOT (an important liver enzyme) and cholesterol levels benefited particularly from fasting.
  • A calculation model showed that each additional day fasting increases the chance of transforming a manifest fatty liver into a lower risk category by 40 %.

Periodic fasting according to the Buchinger Wilhelmi programme took place in an environment that provided medical care, rest and mindfulness, and was well tolerated in the study. It consists of a daily average intake of 250 kcal of organic fruit juices and broths. The participants rarely felt hungry, and the results clearly show that periodic fasting reduces a fatty liver in diabetic and non-diabetic patients.

Drinda, S.; Grundler, F.; Neumann, T.; Lehmann, T.; Steckhan, N.; Michalsen, A.; Wilhelmi de Toledo, F. Effects of Periodic Fasting on Fatty Liver Index—A Prospective Observational Study. Nutrients 2019, 11, 2601.