Background Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease worldwide. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of hydro-alcoholic extract of spinach (HES) on hepatic and serum measurements of NAFLD in a rat model.
Methods During the prevention phase, 18 Sprague–Dawley rats were fed one of the following regimens: a high-fat diet, a high-fat diet plus 400mg/kg HES, or a chow diet ad libitum for seven weeks. Before the treatment phase, NAFLD was induced in 24 rats. Afterwards, they were fed one of the following regimens: the same NAFLD-inducing diet, high-fat diet plus 400mg/kg HES, the chow diet, or chow diet plus 400mg/kg HES ad libitum for four weeks (n=6 in each group).
Results Administration of HES combined with HF diet in rats was associated with decreased food intake (P< 0.01), weight loss (P=0.01), and increased SOD (P= 0.02) enzyme activity in the liver at the end of the prevention phase. hs-CRP (P< 0.05), PTX-3 (P< 0.05), PPAR-γ, and TNF-α gene expression in the liver were improved by spinach intake (P< 0.05), both in the prevention and treatment phases. Furthermore, administration of spinach in the treatment phase increased serum TAC (P=0.03) and hepatic GPX (P=0.01) enzyme activity.
Conclusion Taking into account beneficial effects of HES on prevention and treatment of NAFLD observed in the present study, we propose that further human-based clinical investigations be conducted on subjects with NAFLD.