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DSM highlights new study to assess role of vitamin E in treating common liver conditions

Kaiseraugst, CH, 20 Jul 2015 10:15 CEST

DSM welcomes a new paper published in Nutrition that further examines the beneficial effect of vitamin E on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), including non-alcoholic steatohepatisis (NASH1). The aim of the meta-analysis was to evaluate the efficacy of vitamin E on improving liver function. It was concluded that vitamin E had significant results and there were obvious reductions in steatosis, inflammation and fibrosis in NASH adult patients, compared to the control treatment.

NAFLD, which encompasses a wide spectrum of disorders, has become a major health issue, as well as the most common liver disease throughout the world. Its prevalence is estimated at 20-30% of the general population, and as high as 70-80% in obese persons. The histologic pattern of NAFLD can progress to NASH, liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, and also hepatocellular carcinoma. Antioxidant therapy in the form of vitamin E has been considered to have beneficial effects in the management of NASH, but further work was required to fully understand the data. This analysis has a potentially major impact on public health because non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is also rated as risk factor for cardiovascular disease, diabetes type 2 and chronic kidney disease2.

Vitamin E is often used in the treatment of NAFLD/NASH; however, the magnitude of response associated with vitamin E in improving liver function and histology in NAFLD/NASH has not been quantified systematically. In order to circumvent potential inaccuracies, very strict inclusion and exclusion criteria were set for the present study, and the list of relevant publications included in the meta-analysis was narrowed down to only five. The meta-analysis concluded that vitamin E therapy can result in decreased levels of liver damage related to hepatitis and cirrhosis in children and adults with NAFLD and NASH. Vitamin E therapy reduced significantly aspartate transaminase, alanine aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase – key liver enzymes which are elevated in people with NAFLD and NASH – and was also shown to reduce steatosis, lobular inflammation, and even hepatocellular ballooning in the liver. The authors conclude that vitamin E significantly improved liver function.

This meta-analysis will assist the medical community in better assessing the benefits of vitamin E in treating NAFLD/NASH, which could be used to help establish more accurate clinical guidelines for practitioners,” comments Dr. Manfred Eggersdorfer, Senior Vice President, Nutrition Science & Advocacy, DSM, and Professor for Healthy Ageing at University Medical Center Groningen.

Watch DSM’s webinar on vitamin E and fatty liver disease.

1 Sato K. ‘Vitamin E has a beneficial effect on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials’ Nutrition. 2015 Jul-Aug;31(7-8):923-30. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.11.018. Epub 2014 Dec 24
2 Bryne et al. Journal of Hepatology 2015, vol 62, 547-564