B vitamins, beneficial in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Scientists have discovered a mechanism that produces an advanced form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and indicated that supplements of vitamin B12 and folic acid (vitamin B9) have the potential to stop and prevent this process, notes the publication 360medical.ro, citing a study in the Journal of Hepatology.

Researchers at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore have found that elevated blood levels of an amino acid, homocysteine, correlate strongly with the severity of an advanced form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and that vitamin B12 and folic acid could be used to prevent or delay disease progression.

Fatty liver disease affects a quarter of adults worldwide

These findings could help people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a term used to describe a range of liver conditions that affect 25% of all adults globally.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease involves the accumulation of fat in the liver and is a leading cause of liver transplants worldwide. Its high prevalence is due to its association with diabetes and obesity, two major public health problems in the world. When the condition progresses to inflammation and scar tissue formation, it is known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

“While fat deposition in the liver can be resolved in the early stages, the progression of the disease to NASH causes liver dysfunction, cirrhosis and increases the risk of liver cancer,” said study first author Dr. Madhulika Tripathi, principal investigator in the laboratory of hormone regulation in the cardiovascular and metabolic program at Duke-NUS.

Currently, there are no drugs for this condition

Currently, there are no pharmacological treatments for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, as researchers have so far been unable to identify the mechanisms of the disease. Although scientists know that NASH is associated with high blood levels of an amino acid called homocysteine, until now they did not know whether it is involved in the condition and what role it plays in the development of the disease.

See also  Coronavirus ONLINE: The epidemic in the Czech Republic is weakening, but omicron is spreading. And Europe is tightening

The researchers found that as homocysteine ​​levels increased in the liver, the amino acid bound to various liver proteins, changing their structure and preventing them from functioning.
“Our findings suggest that a relatively inexpensive therapy, vitamin B12 and folic acid, could be used to prevent or delay the progression of NASH. In addition, serum and liver levels of homocysteine ​​could serve as a biomarker for disease severity,” said Dr. Singh.

Homocysteine ​​can similarly affect other liver proteins, so the researchers plan to continue the studies and hope that they will also lead to the development of therapies against non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.
Currently, the only treatment for patients with end-stage liver disease is liver transplantation. Recent findings demonstrate that a simple and affordable intervention could halt liver damage, bringing new hope to those suffering from fatty liver disease.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.