Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the commonest liver disorders. Obesity, insulin resistance, lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress have been identified amongst the possible hits leading to the onset and progression of this disease. Nutritional evaluation of NAFLD patients showed a lower-than-recommended intake of vitamin E. Vitamin E is a family of 8 isoforms, 4 tocopherols and 4 tocotrienols. Alpha-tocopherol has been widely investigated in liver diseases, whereas no previous clinical trial has investigated tocotrienols for NAFLD. Aim of the study was to determine the effects of mixed tocotrienols, in normalising the hepatic echogenic response in hypercholesterolaemic patients with ultrasound-proven NAFLD.
Eighty-seven untreated hypercholesterolaemic adults with ultrasound-proven NAFLD were enrolled and randomised into control group (n = 44) and tocotrienols group (n = 43). The treatment, either mixed tocotrienols 200 mg twice daily or placebo, had a 1-year duration.Normalisation of hepatic echogenic response, being the trial primary aim, was used in sample size calculations. The data were assessed according to intention to treat principle as primary outcome. Per protocol analysis was also carried out as secondary outcome measurement.
Thirty and 34 participants concluded the study in the tocotrienols and placebo group respectively. Alpha-tocopherol levels were within the normal range for all subjects. As primary outcome, the normalisation of hepatic echogenic response was significantly higher for the tocotrienols treated group compared to the placebo group in the intention to treat analysis (P = 0.039; 95% CI = 0.896-6.488). As secondary objective, the per protocol assessment also showed significant rate of remission (P = 0.014; 95% CI = 1.117-9.456). Worsening of NAFLD grade was recorded in two patients in the placebo group, but none in the group treated with tocotrienols. No adverse events were reported for both groups.
This is the first clinical trial that showed the hepatoprotective effects of mixed palm tocotrienols in hypercholesterolemic adults with NAFLD.
The natural vitamin E family is composed of 8 members equally divided into 2 classes: tocopherols (TCP) and tocotrienols (TE). A growing body of evidence suggests TE possess potent biological activity not shared by TCP. The primary objective of this work was to determine the concentrations of TE (200 mg mixed TE, b.i.d.) and TCP [200 mg α-TCP, b.i.d.)] in vital tissues and organs of adults receiving oral supplementation. Eighty participants were studied. Skin and blood vitamin E concentrations were determined from healthy participants following 12 wk of oral supplementation of TE or TCP. Vital organ vitamin E levels were determined by HPLC in adipose, brain, cardiac muscle, and liver of surgical patients following oral TE or TCP supplementation (mean duration, 20 wk; range, 1-96 wk). Oral supplementation of TE significantly increased the TE tissue concentrations in blood, skin, adipose, brain, cardiac muscle, and liver over time. α-TE was delivered to human brain at a concentration reported to be neuroprotective in experimental models of stroke. In prospective liver transplantation patients, oral TE lowered the model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score in 50% of patients supplemented, whereas only 20% of TCP-supplemented patients demonstrated a reduction in MELD score. This work provides, to our knowledge, the first evidence demonstrating that orally supplemented TE are transported to vital organs of adult humans. The findings of this study, in the context of the current literature, lay the foundation for Phase II clinical trials testing the efficacy of TE against stroke and end-stage liver disease in humans.