Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

POZ

Vitamin E effective, safe for fatty liver in people with HIV

Vitamin E has been shown to improve fatty liver in the general population. A study now finds that Vitamin E is also beneficial to people living with HIV, who have a higher prevalence of fatty liver disease.

Photo by Adam Nieścioruk from Unsplash.com

A type of fatty liver disease that commonly affects patients with HIV can be safely treated with vitamin E, a McGill-led study has found.

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a severe form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and is characterized by liver inflammation and cell damage. It is a potentially dangerous condition that can progress to cirrhosis or liver cancer.

“Vitamin E has been shown to improve fatty liver in the general population,” says the study’s lead author Dr. Giada Sebastiani, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, McGill University and scientist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. “Here we provide evidence for its beneficial effect and safety in people living with HIV, who have a higher prevalence of fatty liver disease.”

The study appears in the journal AIDS.

Dr. Sebastiani notes that NAFLD currently affects up to 48% of Canadians (alone) living with HIV and 25% of the general population, while NASH affects about one third of patients with NAFLD. There are several theories to explain the high prevalence of fatty liver among HIV-positive patients, explains Dr. Sebastiani: “It is possibly due to HIV-related inflammation, the antiretroviral drugs that they have to take lifelong, and to very frequent metabolic problems, such as diabetes and high lipids. Unfortunately, there is no approved therapy for fatty liver in people living with HIV.”

In the study, 27 patients with HIV and NASH were given vitamin E in an easily-tolerated dose of two pills per day. “We found that vitamin E improved both liver transaminases (the main blood tests for liver function) and liver fat measured by a non-invasive ultrasonographic test,” says Dr. Sebastiani. “These improvements were even more marked than those reported in the HIV-uninfected population.”

Although she suspected vitamin E would reduce inflammation and fat in the HIV-positive group, Dr. Sebastiani was pleasantly surprised by the size of the effect.

Dr. Sebastiani notes that because the study did not have the benefit of a control group, and the study group was small and had a short follow-up (24 weeks), it’s considered a pilot project. “We would be interested in conducting a larger randomized controlled trial, with a longer follow-up,” she says.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Dr. Sebastiani came to McGill seven years ago from Italy with the goal of establishing a world-class research program focused on fatty liver and non-invasive diagnostic tools for liver disease. In the intervening years, cases of fatty liver disease, which was previously associated only with alcohol abuse, have exploded, particularly among obese Canadians. Dr. Sebastiani predicts that NAFLD will become the leading cause of liver transplants in the next 10 years.

“Vitamin E is an effective treatment for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis in HIV mono-infected patients” was written by G. Sebastiani, P. Ghali, M. Klein, et al.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Like Us On Facebook

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

POZ

1,045 new HIV infections were reported in the Philippines in July 2021, totaling 33 new cases per day. Ninety-six percent (1,005) of the newly-reported...

POZ

The risk of sudden cardiac death was 57% higher in people with HIV whose blood tests showed low levels of CD4+ T cells over...

POZ

A lesson in HIV treatment: The researchers found that tuberculosis preventive therapy with short-course, weekly rifapentine and isoniazid for 3 months was associated with...

POZ

Achieving viral suppression leads to improved individual health outcomes and reduces transmission to seronegative partners, and as such has become a primary focus of...

Advertisement