New research found a link between e-cigarette use and a higher risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Researchers explained that the nicotine in the electronic devices can prompt the build-up of fat in the liver.
The study results were presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society (ENDO 2018).
During the research, scientists exposed a group of mice to saline aerosol and another group to e-cigarette vapor for 12 weeks. Next, the team analyzed the laboratory animals’ genes to see whether there were any changes.
The e-cigarette group presented changes in 433 genes. All changes were associated to a fatty live condition. The same group also saw its body clock changed during those 12 weeks. If the body clock is disturbed, liver disease is more likely to have an early onset.
E-Cigarettes Another Risk Factor for Fatty Liver Disease
Lead author Theodore C. Friedman underlined that so many teens and young adults use e-cigarettes mostly because of the marketing. Advertisers promote the devices as safer alternatives to conventional cigarettes.
However, fatty liver disease is a serious issue, so e-cigarettes may not be as safe as users like it to believe. This could lead to public health issues and a need for stricter regulations. In the U.S., the sale of the electronic devices to minors was banned in August 2016.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition whose main symptom is excess fat in the liver. If the liver gets damaged in the process it can lead to more severe conditions like liver dysfunction or cirrhosis.
Usually, fatty liver disease is caused by obesity, diabetes, cholesterol, or high blood pressure. Alcoholic fatty liver disease is triggered by alcohol abuse. Up to 46% of Americans live with a fatty liver, but in their case, no liver damage is involved.
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