Diet May Influence Liver Disease Progression

-- Rick Ansorge

Monday, July 13, 2009

MONDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- Dietary nutrient composition may be associated with an increased or decreased long-term risk of developing cirrhosis or liver cancer, according to a study published in the July issue of Hepatology.

George N. Ioannou, M.D., of the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, and colleagues studied 9,221 subjects ages 25 to 74 years who were enrolled in the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and were cirrhosis-free at baseline and during the first five years of follow-up.

After a mean follow-up of 13.3 years, the researchers found that 118 subjects had developed cirrhosis and that five had developed liver cancer. After adjusting for potential confounders, the researchers found a high-protein diet was associated with an increased risk of hospitalization or death resulting from cirrhosis or liver cancer, while a high-carbohydrate diet was associated with a decreased risk. They also found that high cholesterol consumption -- but not serum cholesterol or total fat consumption -- was associated with an increased risk of cirrhosis or liver cancer.

"Many determinants of liver disease progression are currently unknown, as evidenced by the fact that we cannot predict accurately which patients with any of the major liver diseases (hepatitis C virus, hepatitis B virus, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and alcoholic liver disease) will progress to cirrhosis and which ones will have a relatively benign course," the authors conclude. "Our study raises the possibility that dietary factors may be important, modifiable, and hitherto unrecognized determinants of liver disease progression."

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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