The role of oral branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplementation in advanced cirrhosis is unclear. It is possible that a nutritional approach could prevent progressive liver failure, and improve nutritional parameters and quality of life.
Researchers performed a multicenter, randomized study to compare 1-year BCAA supplementation with either lactoalbumin or maltodextrins.
The research team's results are published in the June issue of Gastroenterology.
The team included 174 patients with advanced cirrhosis.
|Average hospital admission rate was lower in the branched-chain amino acid group.|
The primary outcomes were the prevention of death and deterioration to exclusion criteria, hospital admission, and duration of hospital stay.
While secondary outcomes were nutritional parameters, laboratory data and Child-Pugh score, anorexia, health-related quality of life, and need for therapy.
The research team found that treatment with BCAA significantly reduced the combined event rates compared with lactoalbumin (odds ratio, 0.43). Combined events were also reduced compared with maltodextrins (odds ratio, 0.51), but this difference was not significant.
They also determined that the average hospital admission rate was lower in the BCAA group, compared with other groups.
The team also found that nutritional parameters and liver function tests were stable or showed improvement during treatment with BCAA. In addition, the Child-Pugh score decreased.
Furthermore, improvements were found in anorexia and health-related quality of life.
However, the team found that long-term compliance with BCAA was poor.
Dr Giulio Marchesini's team concluded, "In advanced cirrhosis, long-term nutritional supplementation with oral BCAA is useful to prevent progressive hepatic failure and to improve surrogate markers and perceived health status".
"New formulas are needed to increase compliance".