New research: keto improves liver health markers


Weight loss and diabetes reversal are not the only benefits of a low-carb, ketogenic diet. Markers of fatty liver disease — a silent killer — greatly improve, too.

That is the finding of a new peer-reviewed study by Virta Health, published this week in the journal BMJ Open. The new results are part of an ongoing series of research studies by Virta, following 262 patients with type 2 diabetes undergoing intensive online coaching and support to eat a low-carb ketogenic diet. Virta compares these patients to 87 patients receiving the usual care for type 2 diabetes. The study is a registered clinical trial, but participants were not randomized into the intervention and control arms.

At the one-year mark, the new results show significant improvements in non-invasive tests for non-alcoholic liver disease (NAFLD) and liver fibrosis (scarring) among the patients who followed the low-carb, ketogenic diet. Specifically, Virta reports these patients experienced a 60% reduction in NAFLD Liver Fat Score, and a 67% reduction in the NAFLD Fibrosis Score. No liver health improvements were found at one year among the patients who received the usual care. In fact, the control group’s NAFLD Liver Fat Score and NAFLD Fibrosis Score worsened.

Virta Health CEO Sami Inkinen said he was incredibly excited about the results:

“NAFLD is a particularly devastating disease, costing the US an estimated $103 billion per year. Nearly 60 percent of people living with diabetes also have NAFLD. Despite these alarming statistics, there are currently no approved pharmaceuticals to treat the disease.”

Often patients with NAFLD do not know they have the disease until it progresses to cirrhosis or liver failure, which is fatal unless they receive a liver transplant, Inkinen noted.

Virta CEO’s Letter: Virta’s impact on NAFLD, the $100B problem affecting 60% of people with T2D

Virta Press Release: Virta Health trial demonstrates improvement in Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis

Earlier studies by Virta have found that at one year, 60 percent of patients on the low-carb ketogenic diet were able to reverse their diabetes and reduce or eliminate their need for diabetes medications. Another study from Virta, also at the one-year mark, found these same patients had improvements in 22 out of 26 risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Diet Doctor: 1-year results Virta Health keto study

Diet Doctor: New study — keto improves cardiovascular markers

These latest findings demonstrate yet again the power of the well-formulated ketogenic diet to greatly improve risk factors for health.

Read the full research study on keto’s impact on liver health markers from the researchers at Virta here:

BMJ Open: Post hoc analyses of surrogate markers of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and liver fibrosis in patients with type 2 diabetes in a digitally supported continuous care intervention: an open-label, non-randomised controlled study


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