Novel Method to Effectively Combat Oxidative Liver Damage
By Kirk Stokel
Little known to the general public is the silent epidemic of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD, which afflicts up to 40% of all Americans.1 NAFLD particularly targets those who carry around excess weight. For the nearly 70% of Americans who are overweight or obese,2 that figure rises to a shocking 50-100%.3,4
Ominously, NAFLD sets the stage for a progression of lethal diseases that can include cancer, atherosclerosis, and diabetes.5,6 Risk of death from all causes skyrockets more than four-fold in NAFLD sufferers - and more than eight-fold for early cardiac death.7
Because of both physician and patient ignorance, most victims of NAFLD are entirely unaware they have it.
No drug can halt this widespread disease's potentially lethal progress.3
The exciting news is scientists have recently identified a novel intervention to halt two of NAFLD's core pathologic processes - lipid peroxidation, wherein excess liver fat turns rancid under continuous assault from free radicals, and rampant oxidative damage from disease-induced mitochondrial dysfunction.
In this article, you will discover how a beneficial adaptogen called Schisandra chinensis and a patented proprietary extract of the melon Cucumis melo work in synergy to restore vital antioxidant functions typically depleted in NAFLD patients. Rancid Fat and Mitochondrial Decay
NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) has been called a disease of modern living.
It is a direct consequence of the typical American sedentary lifestyle and a diet rich in sugar and saturated fats.8
Inactivity, overconsumption, and emotional stress result in a spiral that starts with overweight and obesity and culminates in metabolic syndrome, a cluster of deadly fat- and sugar-related physiological and metabolic derangements that range from hypertension to type 2 diabetes.
NAFLD is now widely recognized as the liver's manifestation of metabolic syndrome.8 It begins with accumulation of excessive amounts of liver fat in the form of triglycerides.9 Fat is highly vulnerable to oxidative damage, and massive oxidative stress is the next step in development of NAFLD, in the process known as lipid peroxidation.8,10 Restoring Youthful Liver Defense Mechanisms
When we are young, we're protected against this deadly cascade of events by two complementary mechanisms.
In the first, a liver enzyme called superoxide dismutase, or SOD, converts highly reactive free oxygen radicals into hydrogen peroxide.11 That delays but doesn't end the threat of lipid peroxidation, because hydrogen peroxide itself generates new free radicals of its own.
To fully quench the free radical threat, a second set of antioxidant enzymes is recruited: catalase and glutathione peroxidase, which act on hydrogen peroxide and quickly convert it into harmless water molecules.12,13
The extraordinary oxidative stress inflicted on the liver in NAFLD, however, puts all of these protective enzyme systems into overdrive. Early in the disease, their activity is ramped up substantially in an effort to compensate - but eventually they become depleted and burn out.14-17
As the body loses its natural primary antioxidant mechanisms, it accumulates lipid peroxidation products, and liver mitochondria begin to fail. This makes people increasingly vulnerable to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, fibrosis, liver cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.10,18
Supporting the liver's mitochondrial antioxidant enzyme systems is a vital step in preventing the consequences of NAFLD. As you will now see, the synergistic action of Schisandra chinensis and Cucumis melo directly replenish essential SOD, while at the same time stimulating glutathione peroxidase, effectively targeting lipid peroxidation and mitochondrial dysfunction in the liver. Optimizing Liver Mitochondrial Function and Antioxidant Defense
Purified extract from a non-GMO Cucumis melo melon has been found to be rich in superoxide dismutase (SOD), the first enzyme in your body's mitochondrial oxidant protection system.19,20 Melon-derived SOD quickly converts primary free oxygen radicals into hydrogen peroxide.
That hydrogen peroxide must be rapidly converted into water to complete the mitochondrial oxidant detoxification process. That task is handled by a second liver-protective agent, an extract of the Chinese vine Schisandra chinensis.
Schisandra extract complements the melon extract by stimulating the liver mitochondrial antioxidant enzyme, glutathione peroxidase, that converts hydrogen peroxide to water.21-24
In the presence of both adequate SOD and enhanced glutathione peroxidase activity, mitochondria can readily convert deadly reactive oxygen species first to hydrogen peroxide and then to harmless water.
Now let's examine the data on just how well each component works to protect your body from the punishing effects of NAFLD. Synergistic Liver Disease and Oxidative Stress Defense
Melon extracts supply important antioxidant SOD enzymes to SOD-depleted liver tissues in NAFLD.Studies reveal that supplementation with specially coated melon extracts directly prevents lipid peroxidation damage to liver and other tissues.19,25-27
But melon extracts rich in SOD have much more profound effects that can protect your liver, not only from oxidant stress, but also directly from the effects of overweight and obesity.
Animals fed high-fat diets develop the metabolic syndrome, just as humans do. But when supplemented with melon extract, hamsters with metabolic syndrome experienced a 68% drop in triglyceride levels, a 12% drop in liver primary free radicals, a 35% drop in lipid and protein oxidation, and a massive 99% drop in levels of the inflammatory fat-derived cytokine leptin.28 These effects led to a 39% reduction in insulin levels, a 41% reduction in insulin resistance, and a 25% reduction in detrimental belly fat accumulation. Supplemented animals also exhibited a 73% reduction in liver fat infiltration and were completely protected against progression of NAFLD to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or NASH is an advanced form of fatty liver disease developed in the absence of alcohol abuse that can progress to scarring of the liver, which may lead to cirrhosis.
Read more: http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2012/jan2012_Novel-Method-Effectively-Combat-Oxidative-Liver-Damage_01.htm