Study Finds Wild Rice Prevents Fatty Liver Disease

In the recent few decades, the dietary habits of most people around the world have undergone a significant change, leading them to consume more high-fat foods.

Long term intake of high-fat foods could lead to obesity, which is often associated with major metabolic diseases, including metabolic associated fatty liver disease.

Fatty liver disease is linked to different chronic diseases like hypertension, and type 2 diabetes, and it can also influence the gut flora, disrupting the balance between good and bad bacteria.

Research about this disease is ongoing and recently, it was discovered that consuming wild rice could help.

A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Science examines the effects of wild rice on liver disease through the modulation of the gut.

What’s Important

Even though an effective method for treating metabolic associated fatty liver disease has not been developed yet, there is constant ongoing research with a lot of progress being made.

Many studies have indicated that modifying the diet can help patients improve the symptoms of their fatty liver disease.

Wild rice is four species of grasses from the genus Zizania and it’s not directly related to common white rice.

However, wild rice is considered a functional food because of its highly nutritious composition.

It’s low in cholesterol and it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

It has a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins B1, B2, E, and minerals compared to regular rice, and much higher levels of phenolic acids and flavonoids than white rice.

These properties give it an ability to modulate the gut.

However, even though previous animal studies have shown that wild rice could decrease the risk of fatty liver disease, its effect on the gut flora was still unexplored, until now.

Some Details

This was an animal-based study and the goal was to examine whether the regular intake of wild rice for 11 weeks would protect against metabolic associated liver disease by modulating the gut.

The study was successful in that it proved that wild rice could significantly reduce the risk of fatty liver disease by altering the contents of the gut microbiota.

Here’s what else they found:

  • Wild rice had a protective effect against fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, fatty liver, and low-grade inflammation largely due to the fact it modulates the gut;
  • Wild rice supplementation significantly increased the number of good bacteria and reduced the number of bad bacteria in the gut;
  • It also enhanced the level of Lactobacillus, one of the most abundant ‘friendly’ bacteria in the gut, or in other words, a probiotic.

In Conclusion

This study has shown that wild rice is very promising in the prevention and treatment of metabolic associated fatty liver disease. Perhaps future studies will explore the effect of wild rice on human health as well.


Resource: Hou, X.-D.; Yan, N.; Du, Y.-M.; Liang, H.; Zhang, Z.-F.; Yuan, X.-L. Consumption of Wild Rice (Zizania latifolia) Prevents Metabolic Associated Fatty Liver Disease through the Modulation of the Gut Microbiota in Mice Model. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21, 5375. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21155375 

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