Does sleep quality influence fatty liver?

18 November, 2023

Recent studies reveal a significant connection between poor sleep duration and the risk of developing fatty liver disease.

In recent years, it has been proven that our sleep duration is inadequate and this trend is observed worldwide. There are several causes that could explain this fact: long hours and work shifts, work pressure, the increase in leisure activities and also, lately concern about the Covid-19 pandemic or the consequences of wars.

Both the duration of sleep and its quality are considered important factors in relation to health. Short sleep duration has negative effects on endocrine function and on the metabolic and immune systems. In addition, it has been shown that inadequate sleep time is associated with mortality, myocardial infarction, infections, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma.

Given the importance of sleep in general health, several studies have been carried out and have linked poor sleep duration with the appearance of fatty liver. These works have been analyzed through a meta-analysis that has been published in the journal Sleep and Breathing.

Increased risk of fatty liver

The mechanisms by which inadequate sleep duration increases the risk of developing fatty liver are not fully defined and there are several explanations. Thus, inadequate sleep duration activates certain pathways in the brain that result in excessive food consumption, leading to obesity. On the other hand, poor sleep can induce the production of several pro-inflammatory substances (tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-6) that produce fat accumulation in the liver, inflammation and destruction.

Finally, inadequate sleep duration can also cause a decrease in intestinal flora, inducing the appearance of metabolic products that increase the susceptibility to the development of fatty liver.

At our Foundation, Dr. Carreño and his team take into account all the factors that influence the appearance of fatty liver, including the duration and quality of the patient’s rest.

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