Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and obesity: the role of the gut bacteria

  • Katherine J. P. Schwenger
  • Colin M. Bolzon
  • Carrie Li
  • Johane P. AllardEmail author


Non-alcoholic fatty-liver disease (NAFLD) is now considered one of the leading causes of liver disease worldwide and is associated with metabolic syndrome and obesity. There are several factors contributing to the disease state. Recent research suggests that the intestinal microbiota (IM) and bacterial products may play a role through several mechanisms which include increased energy uptake, intestinal permeability and chronic inflammation. In addition to diet and exercise, treatment options targeting the IM are being investigated and include the use of pre-, pro- and synbiotics as well as the possibility of fecal microbial transfers. This literature review explores the relationship between NAFLD and the IM as well as highlight new IM treatment options that may become available in the near future.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease Obesity Gut bacteria Prebiotics Fecal transplant 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, Dr. Allard states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine J. P. Schwenger
    • 1
    • 2
  • Colin M. Bolzon
    • 2
  • Carrie Li
    • 2
  • Johane P. Allard
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Medical ScienceUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Toronto General HospitalUniversity Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Department of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Department of Nutritional SciencesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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