PloS one

Higher estimated net endogenous Acid production may be associated with increased prevalence of nonalcoholic Fatty liver disease in chinese adults in Hong Kong.

PMID 25905490


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has been associated with reduced growth hormone levels and signaling. Such hormonal changes also occur in metabolic acidosis. Since mild metabolic acidosis can be diet induced, diet-induced acid load may constitute a nutritional factor with possible influence on NAFLD development. This study explored whether a higher diet-induced acid load is associated with an increased likelihood of NAFLD. Apparently healthy Chinese adults (330 male, 463 female) aged 19-72 years were recruited through population screening between 2008 and 2010 in a cross-sectional population-based study in Hong Kong. Estimated net endogenous acid production (NEAP) was calculated using Frassetto's method and potential renal acid load (PRAL) was calculated using Remer's method based on dietary data from a food frequency questionnaire. NAFLD was defined as intrahepatic triglyceride content at >5% by proton-magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Possible advanced fibrosis was defined as liver stiffness at >7.9 kPa by transient elastography. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to examine the association between each measure of dietary acid load and prevalent NAFLD or possible advanced fibrosis with adjustment for potential anthropometric and lifestyle factors. 220 subjects (27.7%) were diagnosed with NAFLD. Estimated NEAP was positively associated with the likelihood of having NAFLD after adjustment for age, sex, body mass index, current drinker status and the presence of metabolic syndrome [OR (95% CI) = 1.25 (1.02-1.52), p = 0.022]. The association was slightly attenuated but remained significant when the model was further adjusted for other dietary variables. No association between PRAL and NAFLD prevalence was observed. Both estimated NEAP and PRAL were not associated with the presence of possible advance fibrosis. Our findings suggest that there may be a modest association between diet-induced acid load and NAFLD. More studies are needed to ascertain the link between diet-induced acid load and NAFLD and to investigate the underlying mechanisms.