Firefly squids’ parts good for livers


The internal organs of firefly squid contain a substance that helps reduce liver fat, a team of Japanese researchers discovered from animal tests.

Liver fat declined about 25 percent in rats fed with the powdered internal organs of firefly squids for two weeks, compared with rats given normal feed. Similar effects have also been seen in experiments using the guts of Japanese flying squid, according to the team led by Toyama College professor Hiroyuki Takeuchi.

Such effects are expected to appear in humans as well, Takeuchi said. “We aim to identify the substance, so that it can be used in drugs and functional foods,” he said.

The findings will be presented to a conference of the Japan Society of Nutrition and Food Science to be held at Nagoya University from May 24.

In Japan, there are believed to be more than 10 million people with fatty livers.

The group, also including researchers from Kagawa University and the Foods Research Institute of Toyama Prefecture, known for its firefly squid catches, initiated the animal study in 2011. Earlier this month, it began an experiment in which adult men are fed six or seven firefly squids, or about 40 grams, every day.