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JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1991 May-Jun;15(3):337-44.

Nutrition and alcoholic liver disease.

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Department of Medicine, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington 40536-0084.


While the rate of malnutrition is relatively modest in alcoholic patients without alcoholic liver disease, the rate of malnutrition is virtually 100% in patients with alcoholic hepatitis and/or alcoholic cirrhosis. The reasons for malnutrition in the alcoholic hepatitis patient include various factors such as anorexia, poor diet, malabsorption, and altered metabolic state. When the patient is hospitalized, the malnutrition frequently worsens because of fasting for tests, continued anorexia, and complications such as gastrointestinal bleeding. Patients with severe acute hepatitis appear to be both hypermetabolic and hypercatabolic, whereas data are much more conflicting concerning patients with more stable liver disease. Most studies suggest that patients with alcoholic liver disease require at least 60 g of protein per day to maintain positive nitrogen balance. Consistent alterations in plasma amino acid profiles occur in alcoholic liver disease, and specialized nutritional formulations have been devised to correct this amino acid profile with the intent of improving overall nutritional status, hepatic encephalopathy, and mortality. The effects of nutritional support (including use of specialized products) on outcome, on acute hepatic encephalopathy, and on chronic or latent portal systemic encephalopathy are reviewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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