Supplementation with branched-chain amino acids ameliorates hypoalbuminemia, prevents sarcopenia, and reduces fat accumulation in the skeletal muscles of patients with liver cirrhosis.
Kitajima Yoichiro,Takahashi Hirokazu,Akiyama Takumi,Murayama Kenichiro,Iwane Shinji,Kuwashiro Takuya,Tanaka Kenichi,Kawazoe Seiji,Ono Naofumi,Eguchi Takahisa,Anzai Keizo,Eguchi Yuichiro
Journal of gastroenterology
BACKGROUND:Liver cirrhosis induces marked metabolic disorders, protein-energy malnutrition, and sarcopenia. The objective of the study reported here was to investigate the effects of dietary branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) on systemic glucose metabolism, skeletal muscle, and prognosis of patients with liver cirrhosis. METHODS:Japanese patients with liver cirrhosis (n = 21) were enrolled into a longitudinal study in which their diets were supplemented with BCAAs. We evaluated glucose metabolism and analyzed the skeletal muscle area index (SAI) and intramuscular adipose tissue content (IMAC) using computed tomography. RESULTS:After 48 weeks of supplementation with BCAAs, there were no changes in glucose metabolism and skeletal muscle findings. In patients with ameliorated hypoalbuminemia, IMAC was significantly decreased and SAI was preserved concomitant with decreasing 90- and 120-min post-challenge plasma glucose levels (P < 0.01 each). In patients without increased albumin levels, IMAC was significantly increased and the SAI was significantly decreased (P < 0.01 each). Liver-related event-free survival rates for 72 months were 63.6% in patients with decreased IMAC and 20.0% in patients with increased IMAC. CONCLUSIONS:Amelioration of hypoalbuminemia associated with BCAA supplementation correlated with decreased fat accumulation in skeletal muscle, maintenance of skeletal muscle mass, and improved glucose sensitivity, all factors which may contribute to improving the survival of patients with liver cirrhosis.