Vitamin E Repairs Liver Injury
Although the exact cause of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is not fully understood, insulin resistance and obesity clearly play a role
Alcohol is not the only danger our livers face day to day: insulin resistance, a common condition in which blood sugar isn't used properly in the body, can trigger a condition known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. First evidenced by fat deposits forming in liver cells, severe cases cause inflammation and scarring, called steatohepatitis, which can eventually progress to cirrhosis and liver failure.
Taking steps to improve insulin sensitivity and the way the body uses carbohydrates can help reverse the damaging effects of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and now a new study has found that vitamin E supplements may reduce fatty deposits and inflammation in people with this disease as well.
Rescuing the liver
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, included 247 people with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. They were randomly assigned to receive 800 IU of vitamin E per day, 30 mg of a medication used to increase insulin sensitivity (pioglitazone) per day, or placebo for 96 weeks. They underwent liver biopsies at the beginning and end of the trial and were monitored for 24 weeks after the end of treatment. The findings were as follows:
Repairing the liver with vitamin E
Although the exact cause of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is not fully understood, insulin resistance and obesity clearly play a role. The primary finding of this study--"vitamin E was superior to placebo for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis in adults without diabetes" --suggests that oxidative damage might also contribute to liver cell injury in people with this condition.
Taking steps to improve metabolism and to reduce cell damage caused by unstable compounds in the environment may be the best way to reverse nonalcoholic steatohepatitis:
Maureen Williams, ND, received her bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. She has a private practice on Cortes Island in British Columbia, Canada, and has done extensive work with traditional herbal medicine in Guatemala and Honduras. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.