Background and Aims: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most common causes of increased liver enzymes. According to statistical reports, 20%-40% of Western population and 5%-30% of the population of Pacific and Asian countries are afflicted with this disease. The prevalence of NAFLD is higher in hyperlipidemic, diabetic and obese people. Considering the high prevalence of NAFLD and its complications and lack of consensus on its treatment, we were motivated to study the efficacy of silymarin on this disease.
Methods: In this randomized clinical trial, 50 patients including 32 men (64%) and 18 women (36%) were divided into case and control groups. The mean age of case group was 40.3 and for control group was 39.9 years. All patients had elevated liver enzymes and had increased liver echogenicity (lipid accumulation) on sonography. The case group was treated with one tablet containing 140 mg silymarin per day for two months and the control group was treated in the same manner with placebo. Before and after the study, weight, body mass index (BMI) and liver transaminases levels were measured for each patient.
Results: The difference between the mean weight and BMI measured before and after the study was not statistically significant in both case and control groups. But the mean ALT and AST levels deceased from 103.1 to 41.4 and 53.7 to 29.1 IU/mL, respectively in case group which was statistically significant (P<0.001 & P<0.001). In the control group, the decrease in mean ALT and AST, with decrease of 7.8 and 2.2 IU/mL, respectively, was not statistically significant.
Conclusions: Considering the significant drop in liver enzymes following administration of silymarin, it seems that after conducting similar studies in order to determine the appropriate doses and treatment periods, this cheap and easy to access drug can be prescribed for treatment of NAFLD.
Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis Silymarin
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