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J Am Coll Nutr. 1995 Apr;14(2):192-6.

Effects of long-term vitamin E supplementation in alcoholic cirrhotics.

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  • 1Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, Santiago.



Alcohol ingestion promotes lipoperoxidation and alters cellular antioxidant mechanisms. Alpha-tocopherol levels decrease in alcoholics as severity of liver damage increases. The aim of this protocol was to study the effects of a long-term oral 500 mg vitamin E daily supplementation in decompensated ambulatory alcoholic cirrhotics.


67 subjects were included in this double blind trial; 33 patients received vitamin E and 34 patients received placebo tablets of identical appearance during 1 year. Each month, the patients were seen by a nurse practitioner who was in charge of detecting alcohol ingestion and checking adherence to treatment. Every 3 months, the patients underwent a medical examination, and blood samples were taken for clinical laboratory analysis and serum vitamin E measurement.


Alpha-tocopherol levels were significantly lower in patients with more severe liver disease. This difference was not significant when vitamin E levels were corrected by cholesterol. Oral supplementation significantly increased serum vitamin E levels in the experimental group. Alcohol ingestion and hospitalization rates were similar in both groups. Life table analysis did not show significant differences in mortality between the two groups.


Vitamin E supplementation with adequate doses of an alpha-tocopheryl acetate formulation during 1 year did not influence hepatic laboratory parameters, mortality or hospitalization rates of decompensated alcoholic cirrhotics, although serum levels of the vitamin significantly increased.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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