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Vitamin E helps the liver health of liver disease patients

May 05, 2010

A daily supplement of vitamin E was found to improve the health of the livers of people with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a liver disease that was progressing towards cirrhosis, says a new study from researchers at Saint Louis University that included 247 patients in a 96 week study.

43 % of people receiving a daily dose of 800 IU of vitamin E showed significant improvement of the liver, compared with only 19 per cent of those receiving a placebo. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Vitamin E reduced the level of ALT and AST; two liver enzymes that increase in the blood when the liver is being damaged. Vitamin E also decreased inflammation in the liver and decreased the entrance of fat into the liver.

NASH affects about 4 per cent of all American adults and is characterised by excessive fat that causes inflammation and damage in the liver. The disease is linked to weight gain and obesity, and can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and death. "Fatty liver disease is a growing problem in the US, and we currently have no approved medication to offer patients," states researcher Brent Tetri, MD. The study is published online ahead of print April 28th, 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine.