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Vitamin E Helps Treat Common Liver Disease
Date:4/28/2010

hom had diabetes. Some patients were given 30 milligrams a day of Actos, some were given 800 International Units of vitamin E daily and others were given a placebo. A significant rate of improvement in markers of the disease, such as inflammation, was seen in 43 percent of those getting vitamin E, compared to 19 percent of those getting placebo. Similar improvement was seen in 34 percent of those getting Actos, compared to 19 percent of those getting placebo, a difference that was not statistically significant.

Actos might be a viable treatment for some people with fatty liver disease, but the study found its use was associated with significant weight gain that continued throughout the study, Sanyal said.

And vitamin E "should not be regarded as a panacea," he said. "It doesn't mean that everyone should start popping vitamin E."

Because of the high percentage of people who did not respond to vitamin E, that treatment should be done only under a doctor's supervision, with follow-ups to determine whether the treatment is working, Sanyal said.

And while no adverse side effects of the vitamin E regimen were seen, the small size of the study and its relatively short duration do not provide definitive evidence against such problems occurring, he said.

"Vitamin E will be a weapon in the arsenal that doctors have to treat patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis," said Patricia R. Robuck, a senior advisor at the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, "but there are important cautions to be observed."

The trial included only "a relatively healthy population with no diabetes and no cardiovascular disease," Robuck said. "For those people, it can be an important treatment. But should everyone start taking vitamin E? Absolutely not. It should be done under a doctor's care and with careful supervision."

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