We examined if a purported anti-inflammatory supplement (AF) abrogated Western-diet (WD)-induced liver pathology in rats. AF contained: 1) protein concentrates from bovine colostrum and avian egg yolk; 2) herbal adaptogens and antioxidants; and 3) acetyl-L-carnitine.
Nine month-old male Brown Norway rats were allowed ad libitum access to WD for 41-43 days and randomly assigned to WD + AF feeding twice daily for the last 31-33 days (n = 8), or WD and water-placebo feeding twice daily for the last 31-33 days (n = 8). Rats fed a low-fat/low-sucrose diet (CTL, n = 6) for 41-43 days and administered a water-placebo twice daily for the last 31-33 days were also studied. Twenty-four hours following the last gavage-feed, liver samples were analyzed for: a) select mRNAs (via RT-PCR) as well as genome-wide mRNA expression patterns (via RNA-seq); b) lipid deposition; and, c) protein carbonyl and total antioxidant capacity (TAC). Serum was also examined for TAC, 8-isoprostane and clinical chemistry markers.
WD + AF rats experienced a reduction in liver Tnf-alpha mRNA (-2.8-fold, p < 0.01). Serum and liver TAC was lower in WD + AF versus WD and CTL rats (p < 0.05), likely due to exogenous antioxidant ingredients provided through AF as evidenced by a tendency for mitochondrial SOD2 mRNA to increase in WD + AF versus CTL rats (p = 0.07). Liver fat deposition nor liver protein carbonyl content differed between WD + AF versus WD rats, although liver protein carbonyls tended to be lower in WD + AF versus CTL rats (p = 0.08). RNA-seq revealed that 19 liver mRNAs differed between WD + AF versus WD when both groups were compared with CTL rats (+/- 1.5-fold, p < 0.01). Bioinformatics suggest that AF prevented WD-induced alterations in select genes related to the transport and metabolism of carbohydrates in favor of select genes related to lipid transport and metabolism. Finally, serum clinical safety markers and liver pathology (via lesion counting) suggests that chronic consumption of AF was well tolerated.
AF supplementation elicits select metabolic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant properties which was in spite of WD feeding and persisted up to 24 hours after receiving a final dose.
Alex's notes: I am upset that there were so many ingredients included in the AF supplement provided, as this is a major confounding variable. We don't know which ingredient was responsible for the metabolic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant effects. That said, I was happy to see that the researchers acknowledged the potent health benefits of both colostrum and hen yolks.
Interestingly, something not mentioned in the abstract was that AF feeding down-regulated gene expression for carbohydrate metabolism. Between the two experimental groups (one receiving AF the other a positive control; both on western diet), the AF group had an expression shift towards elevated fatty acid transport at the expense of gluconeogenesis and glucose transport. This may in part explain why both the negative control (group eating normal rat diet) and the AF supplement group had similar pre- and post- body mass values, while the positive control gained weight.
Overall, you're better off just not eating the standard American diet and avoiding these complications to begin with. Assuming after the fact, however, it may be worth looking into some colostrum, eggs, resveratrol, and other antioxidants to help get your liver back on track. But please don't go overboard, you're Super Human, not Superman.