Neither vitamin E nor metformin reduces liver enzyme levels in children with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to a JAMA study.
Some 170 children (aged 8 to 17 years) with NAFLD were randomized to receive vitamin E (800 IU/day), metformin (1000 mg/day), or placebo for 96 weeks. At the end of the study, the primary outcome — a sustained decrease in serum alanine aminotransferase level — did not differ significantly between the treatment and placebo groups. Resolution of steatohepatitis (a secondary outcome) did, however, favor vitamin E over placebo.
Noting the negative primary outcome, the authors stress the importance of lifestyle changes for children with NAFLD. They add that “the role of treatment with vitamin E in those who have a biopsy demonstrating borderline or definite [steatohepatitis] remains to be determined.”