There has been a growing interest in the role of vitamin E supplementation in the treatment and/or prevention of nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD). We performed a systematic review of the medical literature from inception through 15 June 2018 by utilizing PubMed and searching for key terms such as NAFLD, vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Data from studies and medical literature focusing on the role of vitamin E therapy in patients with NAFLD and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) were reviewed. Most studies assessing the impact of vitamin E in NAFLD were designed to evaluate patients with NASH with documented biochemical and histological abnormalities. These studies demonstrated improvement in biochemical profiles, with a decline in or normalization of liver enzymes. Furthermore, histological assessment showed favorable outcomes in lobular inflammation and hepatic steatosis following treatment with vitamin E. Current guidelines regarding the use of vitamin E in the setting of NAFLD recommend that vitamin E-based treatment be restricted to biopsy-proven nondiabetic patients with NASH only. However, some concerns have been raised regarding the use of vitamin E in patients with NASH due to its adverse effects profile and lack of significant improvement in hepatic fibrosis. In conclusion, the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic properties of vitamin E accompanied by ease-of-use and exceptional tolerability have made vitamin E a pragmatic therapeutic choice in non-diabetic patients with histologic evidence of NASH. Future clinical trials with study design to assess vitamin E in combination with other anti-fibrotic agents may yield an additive or synergistic therapeutic effect.
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