—A Special Report from Victor Marchione, MD
Vitamin E, alongside vitamin C, is one-half of the major two- pronged antioxidant connection in common nutrients. Vitamin E’s powers in health have long been examined, and an interesting new finding is worthy of an e-article here.
A study published in the famous “New England Journal of Medicine” found that vitamin E could be effective in treating liver disease. Specifically, the chronic disease is called “nonalcoholic steatohepatitis” (NASH), which is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, cholesterol problems, and heart disease. What’s more: NASH can pave the way to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even death.
One issue with NASH is that it doesn’t cause symptoms most of the time. Experts estimate that two to five ! percent of Americans have it, and upward of 20% of the population have accumulations of fat in the liver that could cause NASH at some point. As with most serious liver problems, there is no cure and no truly effective treatment.
Now, to the new study, which is government-funded and believed to be the largest good-quality study ever conducted on NASH.
In the late 1990s, researchers started tracking the progress of patients at nine clinics across the U.S. Along the way, they’ve found a higher and higher number of NASH patients in the country. It is a by-product of the rising tide of obesity.
In one specific study, 247 non-diabetic adults with NASH received either vitamin E, pioglitazone (a drug) or placebo. Where vitamin E is an antioxidant, pioglitazone helps the body manage the use of insulin, controlling blood sugar and fat metabolism.
So, nearly 100 weeks of treatment led to these results! : vitamin E improved all aspects of NASH, except it didn’t! reduce scar tissue in the liver. Nearly half — 43% — of vitamin-E-takers reached the main goal by the end of the study (improving the condition), compared to 19% of those on placebo. The drug helped 34% of patients reach the main goal, but was not of statistical significance. But the drug also caused an average weight gain of 10 pounds.
What the study shows is that vitamin E, inexpensive and everywhere as a supplement, could truly help people with NASH. And it outperformed a drug by a long shot. People with conditions as serious as those that affect the liver should only treat themselves with their doctor’s counsel.