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Food Funct. 2012 Feb;3(2):101-9. doi: 10.1039/c1fo10170f. Epub 2011 Nov 28.

Dietary agents in the prevention of alcohol-induced hepatotoxicty: preclinical observations.

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Department of Biochemistry, Father Muller Medical College, Kankanady, Mangalore, Karnataka, India.


Long term alcohol consumption is one of the important causes for liver failure and death. To complicate the existing problem there are no dependable hepatoprotective drugs and a large number of patients prefer using complementary and alternative medicines for treating and managing hepatic complications. Almost 25 centuries ago, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, proclaimed "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." Exploring the association between diet and health continues even today. Preclinical studies carried out in the recent past have shown that the commonly used dietary agents like Allium sativum (garlic), Camellia sinensis (tea), Curcuma longa (turmeric), Emblica officinalis (Indian gooseberry), Ferula asafoetida (asafoetida), Garcinia cambogia (Malabar tamarind), Glycine max (soyabean), Murraya koenigii (curry leaves), Piper betle (beetle leaf), Prunus armeniaca (apricot), Ocimum gratissimum (wild basil), Theobroma cacao (cocoa), Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek) and Vitis vinifera (grapes) protect against ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity. Mechanistic studies have shown that the beneficial effects of these phytochemicals in preventing the ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity are mediated by the antioxidant, free radical scavenging, anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects. The present review for the first time collates the hepatoprotective effects of these agents and also emphasizes on aspects that need future research to establish their utility in humans.

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