Higher Sugar Intake Boosts Risk of Liver Fibrosis in Latino Teens

Professor Michael Goran was referring to research data that was presented at the annual 2023 conference of the Hepatology, Gastroenterology, and Nutrition Society of North America when he stressed that fibrosis is very difficult to treat. He followed his message by adding that the need, therefore, is to focus on prevention.

Professor Goran directs the Obesity and Nutrition Program at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital as well as the Southern California Keck Medical Center. The Professor stressed that there is an association between increased fat accumulation in Latino adolescents’ liver and those adolescents with a certain genetic constitution (genotype) who regularly consume large quantities of sugar.

Seventy-eight obese Latino adolescents with median age of fifteen years diagnosed with metabolic steatotic liver disease, were analyzed in the study. The teenagers were to report their food intake over the last 24 hours. The level of fat in every individual’s liver was also calculated using an MRI.

Liver stiffness was measured using magnetic resonance elastography. Stiffness over 2.7 kPa is defined as significant fibrosis. The next step was to determine whether higher sugar intake was in any way associated with an increase in liver fat and fibrosis. The researchers confirmed an association.

About the PNPLA3 Gene

Our of the entire group of trial participants, 19 adolescents were found to have the PNPLA3 gene. In these cases, increasing sugar intake created even higher amounts of fibrosis. Dr. Goran commented on the fact that 50% of Latinos have at one or more PNPLA3 gene copies, which is higher than other groups.

Guidance from a Dietician

Participants in the study were encouraged to discuss their diet with registered dieticians while learning about the advantages of reducing their sugar intake.

In addition, cases of drinking water were regularly delivered to their homes in accordance with the study’s protocol. However, Dr. Goran commented that these attempts unfortunately did not solve the teens health issues to any great extent.

Rose Duesterwald

Rose Duesterwald

Rose became acquainted with Patient Worthy after her husband was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) six years ago. During this period of partial remission, Rose researched investigational drugs to be prepared in the event of a relapse. Her husband died February 12, 2021 with a rare and unexplained occurrence of liver cancer possibly unrelated to AML.

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