Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is characterized by excess lipids in hepatocytes, due to excessive fatty acid influx from adipose tissue, de novo hepatic lipogenesis, in addition to excessive dietary fat and carbohydrate intake. Chronic hepatic lipid overload induces mitochondrial oxidative stress and cellular damage leading the development of NAFLD into a more severe liver disease condition, non-alcoholic steato-hepatitis (NASH). In turn, this can progress to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Among others, copper is one of the main bio-metals required for the preponderance of the enzymes involved in physiological redox reactions, which primarily occurs during mitochondrial respiration. Thus, copper homeostasis could be considered a target point for counteracting the progression of NAFLD. Accordingly, many diseases are correlated to unbalanced copper levels and, actually, some clinical trials are examining the use of copper chelating agents. Currently, no pharmacological interventions are approved for NAFLD, but nutritional and lifestyle modifications are always recommended. Fittingly, antioxidant food agents recognized to improve NAFLD and its complications have been described in the literature to bind copper. Therefore, this review describes the role of nutrition in the development and progression of NAFLD with a particular focus on copper and copper-binding antioxidant compounds against NAFLD.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited