Present in many fruits, vegetables and herbs are dietary flavonoids known as naringenin. According to Taiwanese researchers, this phytochemical can stop the hepatitis B virus (HBV) from causing hepatitis, liver cancer, and liver cirrhosis.
The virus spreads by infecting the host DNA with the HBV X protein (HBx). Even as the liver heals following every instance of hepatitis, the malevolent protein amasses inside hepatic cells and subverts them.
Due to the high levels of HBx, lipids accumulate in hepatocytes, thus causing hepatic steatosis a.k.a. fatty liver disease. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) can be developed because of the accumulation of lipids in the liver. HCC is the most common form of liver cancer which scars the liver and causes the death of patients with cirrhosis.
By preventing HBx from knocking over the long line of dominoes which result in HCC, you can prevent any or all of these fatal liver diseases.
Numerous herbal compounds and phytochemicals that can ameliorate HBx-induced liver damage were investigated by the researchers. They have discovered naringenin in which large amounts can be found in grapefruit.
There were previous studies that have shown the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of naringenin. It was found to have the ability to stop the development of tumors, stop the induction of genes that form fats in animal trials, and regulates the creation of lipids and lipid-binding proteins.
Flavonoids Can Reverse Liver Damage As Experiment Shows
The researchers acquired HBx-transgenic mice for their experiment. The hepatitis-infected animals were randomly organized into three groups of five animals each.
A number of animals have received oral doses naringenin solution for days and this dosage was given to them corresponded to an amount that would be usable by humans.
The mice were sacrificed two weeks after. Their serum and tissue samples from their liver were taken for histopathological and biochemical analysis.
The number of hepatic lipids in the liver tissues from the HBx-transgenic mice were assessed by the researchers. In a normal situation, the livers of these mice quickly develop signs of liver damage such as the accumulation of lipids, abnormal arrangement of capillaries, and ballooning of cells.
The researchers reported that naringenin treatment of the mice significantly reduced hepatic damage. The livers of treated mice had a notable recovery and had no sign of abnormal fat. Also, neither their body weight nor their liver-to-body-weight ratio changed overmuch.
Plus, naringenin also lessens the values for serum AST and ALT. There were better serum cholesterol and TG levels on the treated animals. With these results, they have concluded that the compound could improve fatty liver pathology during early stages.
Naringenin Has The Ability To Prevent Hepatitis B Virus From Activating Lipid-Producing Genes In The Liver
HBx is also prevented by naringenin from activating adipogenic and lipogenic genes that would have produced excess hepatic lipids. Naringenin did not show any cytotoxic effects, demonstrating that it is safe for human use.
Likewise, naringenin also prevents the activation of lipogenic genes in HBx-transgenic mice and HepG2-HBx cells and stop the gene pathways used by the hepatitis B virus from activating – which includes the one that causes hepatocyte steatosis.
The researchers concluded that naringenin could potentially prevent HBx-induced liver diseases in humans based on the way it reduced the accumulation of hepatic lipids and restored normal liver function.
Naringenin can also be used in treating early stage of hepatic steatosis since it can block the activation of lipid-producing genes in liver cells infected by the hepatitis B virus.