1Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, 35131 Padova, Italy.
2Research Center for High Performance Sport, UCAM Catholic University of Murcia, 30107 Murcia, Spain.
Together with the global rise in obesity and metabolic syndrome, the prevalence of individuals who suffer from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has risen dramatically. NAFLD is currently the most common chronic liver disease and includes a continuum of liver disorders from initial fat accumulation to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), considered the more severe forms, which can evolve in, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Common features of NAFLD includes altered lipid metabolism mainly linked to mitochondrial dysfunction, which, as a vicious cycle, aggravates oxidative stress and promotes inflammation and, as a consequence, the progressive death of hepatocytes and the severe form of NAFLD. A ketogenic diet (KD), i.e., a diet very low in carbohydrates (<30 g/die) that induces "physiological ketosis", has been demonstrated to alleviate oxidative stress and restore mitochondrial function. Based on this, the aim of the present review is to analyze the body of evidence regarding the potential therapeutic role of KD in NAFLD, focusing on the interplay between mitochondria and the liver, the effects of ketosis on oxidative stress pathways, and the impact of KD on liver and mitochondrial function.