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Nutrients. 2020 Jan 19;12(1). pii: E254. doi: 10.3390/nu12010254.

Essential Amino Acid Supplement Lowers Intrahepatic Lipid despite Excess Alcohol Consumption.

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Department of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 505 South Chandalar Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA.
Department of Biology and Wildlife, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA.
Institute of Arctic Biology, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Alaska Fairbanks1930 Yukon Dr. Room 136, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA.
Bassett Army Community Hospital, 4076 Neely Road, FortWainwright, United States Army, Fairbanks, AK 99703, USA.
Honors College, 1501 251Warren Service Drive, Room 105, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, USA.
Department of Geriatrics, Center for Translational Research in Aging & Longevity, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, 4301 West Markham, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.


Excess alcohol consumption is a top risk factor for death and disability. Fatty liver will likely develop and the risk of liver disease increases. We have previously demonstrated that an essential amino acid supplement (EAAS) improved protein synthesis and reduced intrahepatic lipid in the elderly. The purpose of this exploratory pilot study was to initiate the evaluation of EAAS on intrahepatic lipid (IHL), body composition, and blood lipids in individuals with mild to moderate alcohol use disorder (AUD). Following consent, determination of eligibility, and medical screening, 25 participants (18 males at 38 ± 15 years/age and 7 females at 34 ± 18 years/age) were enrolled and randomly assigned to one of two dosages: a low dose (LD: 8 g of EAAS twice/day (BID)) or high dose (HD: 13 g of EAAS BID). Five of the twenty-five enrolled participants dropped out of the intervention. Both groups consumed the supplement BID for 4 weeks. Pre- and post-EAAS administration, IHL was determined using magnetic resonance imaging/spectroscopy, body composition was analyzed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and blood parameters were measured by LabCorp. T-tests were used for statistical analysis and considered significant at p < 0.05. While there was no significant change in IHL in the LD group, there was a significant 23% reduction in IHL in the HD group (p = 0.02). Fat mass, lean tissue mass, bone mineral content, and blood lipids were not altered. Post-EAAS phosphatidylethanol was elevated and remained unchanged in LD at 407 ± 141 ng/mL and HD at 429 ± 196 ng/mL, indicating chronic and excess alcohol consumption. The HD of the proprietary EAAS formulation consumed BID seemed to lower IHL in individuals with mild to moderate AUD. We suggest that further studies in a larger cohort be conducted to more completely address this important area of investigation.


alcohol; amino acids; liver

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