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NASH Studies Unit -NAFLD & NASH Info

  • Question:Insulin resistance as a cause of NAFLD
  • Answer:
    Most people with NAFLD have “insulin resistance” as the cause of the fat accumulation in the liver.


    Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas and its job is to signal tissues such as muscle to take up glucose (blood sugar) from the bloodstream.


    Insulin resistance causes the cells of the body to respond sluggishly to insulin. When this happens, higher blood insulin levels are needed to keep the glucose levels in the proper range. If insulin resistance becomes severe, even high levels of insulin are not enough to get the glucose out of the bloodstream. In this case, glucose levels rise and this is called type 2 diabetes. The important point of this is that insulin resistance causes high levels of insulin in the blood. It is often present for decades before the development of diabetes.


    High insulin levels in the blood cause fat to accumulate in the liver in most people. Other causes of NAFLD include some dietary deficiencies, a few medications, and unusual genetic defects.
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