Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the hepatic manifestation of metabolic
syndrome, is one of the most common chronic liver diseases, which may progress to
fibrosis, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. NAFLD is characterized by the accumulation
of lipids in the liver arising from multiple factors: increased fatty acid uptake, increased
de novo lipogenesis, reduced fatty acid oxidation and very low density lipoproteins (VLDL)
secretion. Most therapeutic approaches for this disease are often directed at reducing body mass index and
improving insulin resistance through lifestyle modifications, bariatric surgery and pharmacological treatments.
Nevertheless, there is increasing evidence that the use of natural compounds, as polyphenols, exert
multiple benefits on the disorders associated with NAFLD. These molecules seem to be able to regulate the
expression of genes mainly involved in de novo lipogenesis and fatty acid oxidation, which contributes to
their lipid-lowering effect in the liver. Their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifibrogenic and antilipogenic
properties seem to confer on them a great potential as strategy for preventing NAFLD progression. In this review,
we summarized the effects of these compounds, especially flavonoids, and their mechanisms of action,
that have been reported in several studies carried out in in vitro and in vivo models of NAFLD.