This vegetable substance helps fight fatty liver disease - Colonic Training

This vegetable substance helps fight fatty liver disease

With this substance, you can break down your fatty liver! The substance occurs in certain types of vegetables and can not only break down the fat deposits in the liver but also relieve chronic inflammation.

Two factors are important in breaking down fatty liver

A special substance found in some types of vegetables can fight fatty liver – according to the results of a new study published in the journal Hepatology by researchers at Texas A&M AgriLife Research (Texas Research Agency for Agricultural and Life Sciences). ( 1 )

The study shows how the fat deposits in the non-alcoholic fatty liver can be slowly but surely broken down by indole compounds. Indoles are already known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. On the one hand, they are produced by intestinal bacteria (when the amino acid tryptophan is broken down), but are also found in certain types of vegetables – namely in the so-called cruciferous plants, i.e. in cabbage vegetables, rocket, mustard, horseradish, radish and kohlrabi.

The two important factors for breaking down fatty liver are – in addition to exercise, abstinence from alcohol, and reducing excess weight – a healthy intestinal flora and a diet that contains plenty of cruciferous vegetables.

Fatty liver can have dangerous consequences

A non-alcoholic fatty liver is when fat is stored in the liver – without the person in question drinking alcohol. Mostly an unhealthy diet is responsible for this – in connection with obesity and lack of exercise.

Especially with overweight people, the risk of fatty liver is greatly increased, namely 10 times higher than with people of normal weight. Being overweight also causes chronic inflammatory processes in the body, which in turn lead to increased liver damage.

If the fatty liver remains untreated and one continues to indulge in the aforementioned unfavourable lifestyle, life-threatening liver cirrhosis or even liver cancer can develop.

It all depends on the right intestinal flora

However, not all intestinal bacteria can produce indoles, so a healthy and balanced intestinal flora is essential. Even worms that lack indole-producing intestinal bacteria have – according to one study – a weak immune system, are less fertile and not as long-lived as those that harbour indole-producing bacteria in their intestines. (3)

A healthy intestinal flora can be achieved on the one hand with the help of the right diet, but also by taking probiotics (preparations with beneficial intestinal bacteria). Probiotics can even improve liver health.

How indoles can help the liver

The current study examined the effects of different indole concentrations in humans, in animal models and also in individual cells – in relation to fatty liver and inflammatory processes in the liver.

137 patients with fatty liver were used as participants. It was found that people with a higher BMI (i.e. overweight) also had lower indole levels in their blood than the participants of normal weight. At the same time, those with low indole levels also had higher levels of fat accumulation in the liver.

Animal studies have already shown that the administration of indole to the fatty liver significantly reduced fat accumulation and inflammation in the liver.

And cell studies have also shown that indole seems to have a positive effect on health, as the substance motivates intestinal cells, among other things, to produce anti-inflammatory substances.

These intestinal bacteria can produce indoles

The prevention of fatty liver and also the progression of an existing fatty liver seems to depend on the diet, which in turn influences the intestinal flora – and the right intestinal flora allows indoles and other positive substances to have an effect, according to Dr. Chaodong Wu, head of the study. In addition to E. coli, it is also the two intestinal bacteria Lactobacillus reuteri and Enterococcus faecalis that can produce indoles.

“Once again, this study provides evidence of the power of nutrition. It suggests that a certain diet can prevent or alleviate diseases in a targeted manner. Healthy indole-rich foods are very important in preventing fatty liver disease and can also improve the well-being of those who already have fatty liver disease, “said Dr. Wu. ( 2 )

For your liver: build up the intestinal flora and eat foods rich in indole

Of course, cruciferous vegetables will not only have such positive effects on health and liver health because of their indole content. They also contain a lot of other extremely healthy substances and should therefore be on the menu on a regular basis.

Nothing is easier than that, because you can find delicious, healthy and varied recipes with broccoli, cauliflower, white cabbage & Co in our recipe department.

If you want to do more for your colon and your intestinal flora – talk to us and let us help you on your journey to a healthy liver.


  1. (1) Linqiang Ma, Chaodong Wu et al., Indole Alleviates Diet ‐ induced Hepatic Steatosis and Inflammation in a Manner Involving Myeloid Cell PFKFB3. Hepatology, 2020
  2. (2) Texas A&M AgriLife Communications, Natural compound in vegetables helps fight fatty liver disease: New research shows how indole can reduce inflammation, fatty deposits, ScienceDaily, February 7, 2020
  3. (3) Sonowal R, Kalman D et al., Indoles from commensal bacteria extend healthspan, PNAS September 5, 2017 114 (36) E7506-E7515; first published August 21, 2017