Over the past decade, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become one of most common chronic liver diseases in children. A greater understanding about the risk factors and molecular pathogenesis of NAFLD suggests that lifestyle interventions aiming to decrease obesity/body mass index and metabolic derangement are the first line of treatments adopted in children affected by this disease. However, because these therapeutic options are often at the beginning misjudged by the patients and their parents, the use of pharmacologic agents may help to protect the liver and other organs from further irreversible tissue damage. Pharmacologic therapies against one or more specific factors and/or molecules involved in the development of NAFLD (i.e., insulin resistance, free fatty acid lipid toxicity, and oxidative stress) also might slow the progression of this increasingly prevalent pediatric disorder. On this basis, insulin sensitizers, antioxidants, cytoprotective agents, and dietary supplementations have been evaluated in pediatric clinical trials. In this review, we discuss the efficacy of the dietary approaches, possibly coupled with regular exercise, on decreasing the metabolic and histologic damage in pediatric NAFLD. We also emphasize several advantages of the pharmacologic treatments adopted or adoptable in combination with lifestyle interventions in children with NAFLD.
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics