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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 14, 2020

Hepatoprotective effects of Shilajit on high fat-diet induced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in rats

  • Baran Ghezelbash , Nader Shahrokhi EMAIL logo , Mohammad Khaksari , Firouz Ghaderi-Pakdel and Gholamreza Asadikaram



Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the main common cause of chronic liver disease. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of Shilajit, a medicine of Ayurveda, on the liver damage caused by NAFLD.

Materials and methods

Forty male Wistar rats, after being established as fatty liver models by feeding a high-fat diet (HFD, 12 weeks), were divided randomly into five groups as follows: control (standard diet), vehicle (HFD + distilled water), high-dose Shilajit (HFD + 250 mg/kg Shilajit), low-dose Shilajit (HFD + 150 mg/kg Shilajit) and pioglitazone (HFD + 10 mg/kg pioglitazone). The serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), glucose and liver glutathione peroxidase (GPx), superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, liver weight, and histopathological manifestation outcomes were measured after the 2-week intervention.


Shilajit treatment significantly reduced the values of AST and ALT, TG, TC, LDL, glucose, liver weight, and steatosis, and instead, increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) compared with the vehicle group (p < 0.05). Further, Shilajit treatment improved the adverse effects of HFD-induced histopathological changes in the liver as compared with the vehicle group (p < 0.001). MDA level and GPx activity increased but SOD activity decreased in the vehicle group compared with the control group (p < 0.05), while treatment with Shilajit restored the antioxidant/oxidant balance toward a significant increase in the antioxidant system in the Shilajit group (p < 0.05).


These findings suggest that Shilajit improved the histopathological NAFLD changes in the liver and indicated the potential applicability of Shilajit as a potent agent for NAFLD treatment.


This work is part of the Ph.D. thesis of Ms. Ghezelbash at the Department of Physiology.

  1. Author statement

  2. Research funding: The present study was financially supported by the Physiology Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.

  3. Conflict of interest: All the authors declare no conflicts of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Not applicable.

  5. Ethical approval: This study was approved by the Medical Ethics Committee of Kerman University of Medical Sciences (Approval No: IR. KMU. REC. 1394. 681).


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Received: 2019-07-14
Accepted: 2019-10-24
Published Online: 2020-02-14

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