15 May 2018 --- Children with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease have particularly low vitamin D status and suffer from vitamin D insufficiency throughout the year, new research has found. The research, published in Pediatric Obesity, charted vitamin D levels and variations in genes that determine vitamin D status in British children diagnosed with the liver disease.
“Despite the high prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, thus far lifestyle change is the only proven effective treatment for those diagnosed. However the lack of understanding regarding the disease's molecular pathogenesis makes it very difficult to identify patients who are most likely to suffer disease progression and therefore to benefit from intervention,” says Dr. Bernadette Moore, from the School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds.
“Our research hopes to add to the growing body of work that would make it easier to identify those at risk of progression, allowing for more targeted individualized therapy,” Moore adds.
Scientists at the University of Leeds, England, examined vitamin D levels in children with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease over a 12 month period. The study found the majority of children in the cohort had insufficient vitamin D levels throughout the year, with severe vitamin D deficiency during the winter months.
The study is the first to find a relationship between genetic variations in the vitamin D metabolic pathway and the severity of liver damage in UK children. The researchers found that polymorphisms in the vitamin D related genetic variants NADSYN1/DHCR7 and VDR were independently associated with increased liver fat while a GC variant was associated with increased inflammation in liver biopsies.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is now the most common chronic liver disease in children. Both genetic and nutritional factors are thought to influence the progression and development of the disease. Previous studies have raised the question of whether improving vitamin D status through diet or supplements may benefit patients.
NutritionInsight has previously reported on significant research into a lethal form of liver cancer, which found that Acyclic retinoid, an artificial compound derived from vitamin A, may prevent the recurrence of tumors.
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