Thyroid Hormone Reduces Fatty Liver In Diabetics

Researchers have found that low dose thyroid hormone supplementation may help reduce non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in male patients with type 2 diabetes.

AsianScientist (Jun. 5, 2018) – A research group in Singapore has demonstrated that low doses of thyroxine hormone may be beneficial for reducing fatty liver in male diabetic patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). They published their discovery in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

NAFLD is a major global health problem characterized by accumulation of fat in the liver. The condition typically develops in patients with obesity, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidaemia and insulin resistance. The accumulation of excess fat in the liver can be a long, silent process. However, as the disease progresses, the liver will be unable to function normally, and by this stage the damage is non-reversible.

Currently, it is estimated that 30-40 percent of Singaporeans are affected by NAFLD. In this study, researchers led by Professor Paul M. Yen and Dr. Eveline Bruinstroop at the Duke-NUS Medical School completed a clinical study showing that low dose thyroid hormone supplementation may be beneficial for reducing fatty liver in male diabetic patients with NAFLD.

Twenty NAFLD patients with stable type 2 diabetes and normal thyroid function were treated with thyroxine hormone (TH) therapy for four months at a dosage that was tailored to each individual. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed before and after TH treatment to measure the changes in various fat depots, including liver fat content. Other clinical measurements such as the control of blood glucose levels were also monitored. Patients that had a larger decrease in intrahepatic lipid content also showed improvement in their diabetes symptoms.

“This is the first clinical study that showed low dose thyroid hormone decreases both liver fat as well as overall body fat in a safe manner in male type 2 diabetic patients with NAFLD. The decrease in liver fat also correlates with an improvement in diabetes control after treatment. This pilot study provides a strong rationale for further investigation, development, and testing of thyroid hormone or thyroid hormone analogues in diabetic patients with NAFLD,” Yen explained.

Dr. S. Sendhil Velan, head of the Singapore Bioimaging Consortium’s Metabolic Imaging Group, who assisted in the MRI imaging, noted that the clinical study affirms MRI and spectroscopic approaches as gold standards for measuring metabolic activity.

“These will support future clinical studies in NAFLD and the development of medical treatments that improve health outcomes,” he added.

The article can be found at: Bruinstroop et al. (2018) Low Dose Levothyroxine Reduces Intrahepatic Lipid Content in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and NAFLD.


Source: Agency for Science, Technology and Research; Photo: Pixabay.
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