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Nutrition. 2007 Feb;23(2):113-20.

BCAA-enriched snack improves nutritional state of cirrhosis.

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  • 1University of Tokushima Graduate School, Tokushima, Japan.



A late evening snack improves the catabolic state in patients with advanced liver cirrhosis. We tested whether long-term (3 mo) late evening snacking that included a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA)-enriched nutrient mixture produces a better nutritional state and better quality of life than ordinary food in patients with hepatitis C virus-positive liver cirrhosis.


In a multicenter, randomized study, 48 patients with liver cirrhosis received late-evening supplementation with the BCAA-enriched nutrient mixture or ordinary food, such as a rice ball or bread, for 3 mo. During the study period, each patient was instructed on energy and protein intake. Blood biochemical data, nitrogen balance, respiratory quotient, and health-related quality of life (Short Form 36 questionnaire) were evaluated at baseline and at the end of the study.


Total and late-evening energy intakes were similar in the two groups at 3 mo. Serum albumin level, nitrogen balance, and respiratory quotient were significantly improved by the BCAA mixture but not by ordinary food. The parameters of the Short Form 36 did not statistically significantly improve over 3 mo in either group.


Long-term oral supplementation with a BCAA mixture is better than ordinary food in a late evening snack at improving the serum albumin level and the energy metabolism in patients with cirrhosis.

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