1Department of Biomedical and Dental Sciences and Morphofunctional Imaging, University of Messina, 98122 Messina, Italy.
2Department Oncological D.A.I., UOC of General Surgery-Oncology, 98125 Messina, Italy.
3IRCCS Centro Neurolesi Bonino-Pulejo, S.S. 113 Via Palermo, C. da Casazza, 98124 Messina, Italy.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is liver damage characterized by an accumulation of triglycerides in hepatocytes of >5% (due to an alteration of the balance of the lipid metabolism in favour of lipogenesis compared to lipolysis) that is not induced by the consumption of alcohol. The pathology includes simple steatosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH (steatosis associated with microinflammatory activities), which can evolve in 15% of subjects with hepatic fibrosis to cirrhosis and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. The aim of this study is to report the role of macro- and micronutrients in the pathogenesis and prevention of NAFLD in obese subjects. A total of 22 obese or overweight patients with hepatic steatosis were monitored periodically, evaluating their eating habits, fasting glycaemia, lipid picture, liver enzymes, anthropometric parameters, nutrition status, liver ultrasound, oxidative stress, and adherence to the Mediterranean diet. A statistical analysis shows a significant positive relationship between total cholesterol and the Mediterranean adequacy index (MAI) (r = -0.57; p = 0.005) and a significant negative relationship between ALT transaminases and the MAI (r = -0.56; p = 0.007). Nutrition and diet are important factors in the pathogenesis and prevention of NAFLD. The dietary model, based on the canons of the Mediterranean diet, prevents and reduces the accumulation of fat in hepatocytes. Therefore, in agreement with other studies in the literature, we can state that a dietary model characterized by foods rich in fibre, carotenoids, polyphenols, ω3 fatty acids, folic acid, and numerous other molecules is inversely correlated with the serum levels of ALT transaminases, an enzyme whose level increases when the liver is damaged and before the most obvious symptoms of organ damage appear.