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News - Vitamin E shows promise for fatty liver

By Holly Taylor BSc(Hons) DipCNM MBANT NTCC

According to new research published in the New England Medical Journal this April, people with a common, obesity-related liver disease may benefit from vitamin E pills.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases usually develop in middle-aged people who are overweight or obese. Fat slowly accumulates in the liver causing it to become inflamed and this can result in scarring and damage.

During the study, 247 adults with advanced fatty liver disease were randomly assigned to take a dose of vitamin E (800iu), a diabetes drug or dummy pills for 96 weeks. The vitamin and drug were tested because earlier research suggested liver cell deterioration and insulin resistance might be involved in the development of the disease.

Biopsies before and after treatment showed that liver function improved in 43% of those people who took the vitamin E, compared with 19% in the placebo group. Study participants on the diabetes drug also improved, but to a lesser degree and with the drawback of gaining weight.  

Article References

Sanyal AJ et al. (2010) Pioglitazone, Vitamin E, or Placebo for Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis. New England Medical Journal. Epub ahead of print.

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