Gut Dysbiosis and its Impact on NAFLD: The Role of Probiotics in Modulating the Gut-Liver Axis

Gut Dysbiosis and its Impact on NAFLD: The Role of Probiotics in Modulating the Gut-Liver Axis

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), closely linked to gut dysbiosis, is influenced by an imbalance in the composition of gut microbes.Mr Musazadeh's paper Effect of Probiotics on Liver Enzymes in Patients With Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: An Umbrella of Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis will be examined in this article. This dysbiosis disrupts gut permeability, leading to the translocation of bacteria and the release of bacterial products, such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS), into the bloodstream, triggering liver inflammation and contributing to the development and progression of NAFLD(Musazadeh et al., 2022)

Research Method:

This research employed a meticulous selection process, focusing on identifying studies investigating the effects of probiotics in NAFLD. Data extraction and analysis were conducted to evaluate the impact of probiotics on liver enzymes, with specific attention given to alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) in NAFLD patients.


The selected studies provided a comprehensive overview of the effects of probiotics on liver enzymes in NAFLD patients. The analysis demonstrated consistent improvements in liver enzyme levels following probiotic interventions. Notably, the widely recognized markers of liver injury—ALT, AST, and GGT—showed significant reductions after probiotic supplementation.


I. Mechanisms Linking Gut Dysbiosis to NAFLD

A.Impaired Glucose Control and Insulin Resistance
  1. Disruption of intestinal hormone production, including glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and peptide YY (PYY), affects glucose regulation, resulting in insulin resistance and the accumulation of liver fat.
  2. Reduced production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as propionate and butyrate, impacts glucose and lipid metabolism, contributing to insulin resistance and NAFLD.
B. Bile Acid Dysregulation
Dysbiosis-induced conversion of primary bile acids to secondary bile acids disrupts the composition of the bile acid pool, impairing the activation of bile acid receptors (farnesoid X receptor [FXR] and Takeda G protein-coupled receptor 5 [TGR5]). This disturbance affects glucose and lipid metabolism, thereby contributing to NAFLD.
C. Gut Barrier Dysfunction
Dysbiosis weakens the tight junctions between epithelial cells, allowing the translocation of harmful substances, toxins, and pro-inflammatory cytokines. This triggers immune responses, leading to liver inflammation and NAFLD
D. Inflammatory Response and Oxidative Stress
Bacterial translocation via gut dysbiosis activates Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), causing inflammation and the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6). Chronic low-grade inflammation disrupts insulin signaling and impairs lipid metabolism, exacerbating NAFLD progression.

II. Role of Probiotics in NAFLD Management

A. Restoring Gut Microbial Balance

    1. Probiotics compete with harmful bacteria, restoring microbial balance and mitigating gut dysbiosis.
    2. Strengthening the gut barrier through the production of tight junction proteins, such as occludin and zonulin, reduces the translocation of inflammatory molecules into the liver.

B. Immune Regulation and Oxidative Stress Reduction

    1. Probiotics exhibit antioxidant activity by producing and secreting antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS).
    2. Modulation of immune responses reduces inflammation by regulating pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-6) and increasing anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-10).
    3. SCFA production by probiotics indirectly reduces oxidative stress and inflammatory markers in the liver.

C. Direct Effects on Glucose and Lipid Metabolism

    1. Probiotics enhance insulin sensitivity by promoting the secretion of incretin hormones (GLP-1), influencing glucose homeostasis.
    2. Probiotics regulate lipid metabolism by reducing fatty acid synthesis and promoting fatty acid oxidation in the liver.

D. Bile Acid Homeostasis

Probiotics modulate bile acid composition and metabolism, restoring homeostasis and alleviating hepatic lipid accumulation.


Probiotics offer a promising therapeutic approach for NAFLD, demonstrating potential benefits in improving liver enzyme levels, reducing liver fat content, and alleviating insulin resistance. However, the heterogeneity of results and the limited number of studies in each subgroup emphasize the need for cautious interpretation of the outcomes. Further research is required to establish definitive conclusions and optimize probiotic strains, dosages, and treatment durations. The gut-liver axis plays a vital role in the pathogenesis of NAFLD, and interventions targeting gut dysbiosis hold promise in modulating gut microbial composition, improving gut barrier function, and influencing immune responses, glucose and lipid metabolism, and bile acid homeostasis.


Reference Source:

Musazadeh, V., Roshanravan, N., Dehghan, P., & Ahrabi, S. S. (2022). Effect of probiotics on liver enzymes in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: An umbrella of systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in Nutrition, 9.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.