Friday, May 14, 2010

800 IU of vitamin E is good for your liver

The liver is a wonder organ that cleans up the body. If your diet leads to obesity then it is highly likely that you have fatty liver. Unsurprisingly this is called fatty liver disease. It can then progress from just being fatty to scaring of the liver, this is then called Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH). This is much more serious as it means that permanent damage is being done to the liver. If this progress it leads to cirrhosis, which basically is a stuff liver.

Currently there is no treatment for NASH and no known drug that prevents progression to cirrhosis. I strongly suspect that massive lifestyle change would help......

A study investigated the effect of placebo, 800IU of vitamin E and Pioglitazone on NASH. Pioglitazone is a diabetes medication and is the 10th most commonly used drug in the USA.

Unsurprisingly the vitamin E turned out to be much better than that placebo or the drug. Among the markers they measured it was determined that vitamin E reduced the amount of fatty liver, ie turned parts of the liver that was fatty back to healthy liver. It also reduced inflammation of the liver. Furthermore more the drug group gained more weight than the vitamin E group. This can't be good. So if you have a sick liver, change your lifestyle and take 800IU of vitamin E.

Reference: Sanyal et al (2010) Pioglitazone, Vitamin E, or Placebo for Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis New England Journal of Medicine Volume 362:1675-1685 May 6, 2010 Number 18
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