Low B Vitamin Levels Linked to Severity of Liver Disease
A recent study suggests there may be an association between scar tissue on the liver in people with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and low blood levels of folate and vitamin B12. NASH is a progressive form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which can subsequently develop into cirrhosis or liver disease.
Participants in the study included 51 men and 32 women with an average age of 41. The researchers analyzed liver biopsies to determine the level of steatohepatitis in all of the participants. They also measured blood levels of folate and B12 and calculated correlations with stages of progression of NAFLD and NASH.
The researchers found that blood levels of folate and vitamin B12 were inversely related to the grade of fibrosis in the liver. They also found that low blood levels of vitamin B12 were associated with more sever NASH.
Researchers from Nazareth Hospital EMMS in Israel led the study. It was published on April 2, 2018, in Nutrients.
Folate is a B vitamin that plays an essential role in the necessary functions of the human body, including nervous system function, red blood cell formation, and hormone function. Previous studies have found a potential link between folate and reductions in the risk of stroke, hearing loss and birth defects.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential to the proper function of the brain, nervous system and formation of blood. Deficiencies in vitamin B12 can lead to fatigue, depression and memory lapses.