An interesting new publication in Plos One talks about how polyphenols in alcoholic beverages actually help to alleviate alcoholic fatty liver. The researchers from Japan, who performed this study, wanted to elucidate the effect of the polyphenols contained in alcoholic beverages on the metabolic stress induced by ethanol consumption. They fed four groups of mice for five weeks with a liquid diet with or without ethanol, with ethanol plus ellagic acid (a potent antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables) and with ethanol plus trans-resveratrol (a type of natural phenol). Results showed that the mice fed on ethanol diet had increased incidence of fatty liver, while the other groups did not show any signs of liver damage. Moreover, expression of genes involved in cell stress were significantly up-regulated in the ethanol fed mice group alone. On the other hand, the polyphenol treated group showed increased expression of genes involved in bile acid synthesis, unsaturated fatty acid elongation and tetrahydrofolate formation; all these genes were down-regulated in the ethanol-only group. This study provides a molecular basis for the prevention of alcohol-induced stress by the polyphenols in alcoholic beverages.
The original publication can be accessed here.