Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a metabolic condition that comprises a spectrum of liver diseases. Non-pharmacological treatments such as functional food consumption and aerobic exercise training (AET) have been recommended.
To evaluate the combined effects of açai pulp consumption and AET on the development of NAFLD induced by a high-fat diet.
Male Fischer rats received either standard or high-fat diet. Animals (21.8% lard and 1% cholesterol) were treated with lyophilized açai pulp (1%), AET or açai plus AET for 8 weeks. Exercise capacity, body fat, serum metabolites (triacylglycerol, total cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein) and enzymes (lipase, aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase), liver macrovesicular steatosis and liver lipid peroxidation (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances—TBARS) were evaluated.
Açai consumption reduced the levels of serum total cholesterol (p = 0.0185). AET with or without açai consumption increased the exercise capacity (p = 0.0097) and reduced body fat (p = 0.0001) similarly. Both AET and açai consumption individually reduced the concentrations of aspartate aminotransferase (p = 0.0103) and TBARS (p = 0.0014). AET with or without açai consumption reduced the degree of macrovesicular steatosis (p < 0.0001) likewise.
Açai consumption or AET protect against increases in serum metabolite (total cholesterol) and enzyme (aspartate aminotransferase) and liver lipid peroxidation (TBARS), whereas AET prevents increases in the degree of macrovesicular steatosis in this model of NAFLD induced by high-fat diet in rats. The combination of treatments, nevertheless, does not provide additional effects.