KANNAPOLIS, N.C. -- Scientists at the North Carolina Research Campus are looking for ways to treat and prevent certain types of liver disease. Researchers in Kannapolis say both alcoholic and non-alcoholic forms of liver disease are on the rise.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common form of liver disease in the U.S.
"It affects one in three normal weight individuals and up to 95 percent of overweight and obese individuals," said Dr. Karen Corbin, with the UNC Chapel Hill Nutrition Research Institute. She is studying non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Corbin said the disease occurs when too much fat accumulates in the liver, and in many cases leads to liver cancer.
"You can think of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease as sort of opening the door to additional problems and the goal would be to prevent this accumulation of fat or reverse it if possible," she said.
Looking at factors like genetics, diet and exercise, Corbin and her team are testing foods with a chemical called choline found in high protein foods to create tailored, nutritional treatments and prevention of fat in the liver.
"That would be the goal, to improve what we already know and personalize it so that more people are successful when they implement nutrition interventions," said Corbin.
The results of which could also help treat alcohol-induced liver disease, which is also on the rise.
Researchers say work on this topic will be ongoing as funding is available. It could also lead to breakthroughs for other diseases like heart disease.