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Vitamin E improves the aminotransferase status of patients suffering from viral hepatitis C: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

von Herbay A; Stahl W; Niederau C; Sies H
Free Radic Res 1997 Dec;27(6):599-605

Vitamin E has been shown to protect against liver damage induced by oxidative stress in animal experiments. Based on our previous findings of diminished vitamin E levels in patients suffering from viral hepatitis, we treated 23 hepatitis C patients refractory to alpha-interferon therapy with high doses of vitamin E (2 x 400 IU RRR-alpha-tocopherol/day) for 12 weeks. Study design: pro-spective randomized double-blind crossover design. Clinical parameters including alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) were determined for monitoring the disease state, in parallel vitamin E plasma levels and plasma lipids were determined. The plasma levels of the alpha-tocopherol were increased about 2-fold in all 23 patients. In 11 of 23 patients the clinical parameters indicative of liver damage were improved during the phase of vitamin E treatment (48% responders). ALT levels in responders were lowered by 46% and AST levels were lowered by 35% after 12 weeks of vitamin E treatment. Cessation of vitamin E treatment was followed by a rapid relapse of ALT and AST elevation, whereas retreatment led to a reproducible ALT decrease by 45% and AST decrease of 37% after a 6 months followup. Since vitamin E is non-toxic even at elevated doses ingested over extended periods, we suggest the treatment of patients refractory to alpha-interferon therapy suffering from hepatitis C with vitamin E as a supportive therapy.

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