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NMU – 318 Vitamins and Minerals Help to Prevent and Treat Fatty Liver Problems (NASH)

Nutrition/Natural Medicine Update No 318 (April 23, 2024)

with Dr. James Meschino

Topic: Vitamins and Minerals Help to Prevent and Treat Fatty Liver Problems (NASH)

Source: J Cureus (2021)


There is a disturbing world-wide health trend involving fatty liver disease that is not caused by over consumption of alcohol. In the past, most fatty liver problems, which often lead to fibrosis and life-ending cirrhosis, were caused by excess alcohol intake. But in recent years a new fatty liver problem has swept across the globe, which entails a very serious fatty liver condition that is not caused by alcohol consumption, known as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) or Non-Alcohol Steatohepatitis (NASH). In most cases the cause of this problem is lack of physical activity, and/or high fat or high refined carbohydrate diet, as well as obesity.  According to most recent reports Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) now affects 20-30% of the world’s population. More specifically, it affects 20-35% of adults, 15% of children and is found in up to 80% of obese individuals. It also occurs quite commonly in type 2 diabetics and in patients with hyperlipidemia (high fat levels in the blood) due to its association with insulin resistance and metabolic impairment. However, NAFLD can also affect individuals with normal weight and those without metabolic disorders, accounting for about 16% of total cases.

Fatty liver problems occur when more than 5% of liver cells become filled with fat, which often triggers events that tend to progress towards liver fibrosis. Further progression can lead to cirrhosis and an increased risk of primary liver cancer known as hepatocellular carcinoma. So, it’s important to get this problem diagnosed in the early stages when it is still reversible and non-life threatening. Your doctor should order standard liver function tests at your annual physical exam. If the ALT and/or AST blood levels are elevated then an abdominal ultrasound, MRI or CT-scan may be warranted to help confirm the diagnosis of a fatty liver problem. As a rule, NAFLD is a silent disease with very few manifestations until the later stages, and then suddenly the individual develops advancing fibrosis or cirrhosis, which requires a liver transplant, or their condition progresses to liver cancer. So, catching this problem early and reversing it is very important because there are no symptoms until it reaches the later stages. The main treatment for NASH is lifestyle modification, involving weight loss, increased exercise, reduced calorie consumption, especially high animal fat foods, fried foods, and sugary carbohydrates.

But emerging evidence suggests that vitamins and minerals also play a key role in preventing and reversing early-stage NASH.A brilliant review in 2012 in the journal Cureus, highlighted the important role played by vitamins A, B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxal), B9 (Folic acid), B12, C, D, and E. As the researchers detail, these vitamins can help to suppress liver inflammation, quench free radicals in liver cells that are known to do significant damage in cases of NASH, help preserve the integrity of liver cell components (mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum), repair some liver cell damage, help to shuttle fats out of the liver and provide other preventive and therapeutic effects to support the health of liver cells. In fact, supplementation with 800 IU of vitamin E is one of the medical guidelines for the treatment of NASH. So, in addition to remaining fit and staying at or near your ideal weight, avoiding fatty animal products and fried foods and being careful with too many carbohydrate calories, some good evidence suggests that taking a high potency multiple vitamin and mineral each day that is enriched with higher levels of antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as a B-50 complex, may be one more important step to help prevent and better manage NASH.

I have included the references for this information in the text below.


Abe R.A. M. et al. The role of vitamins in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: A systematic review. Cureus. 2021,13(8): e16855

National Institutes of Health: Diagnosis of NAFLD & NASH. How do doctors diagnose NAFLD?,difference%20between%20NAFL%20and%20NASH.


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. Meschino

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