Treatment of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease with Curcumin: A Randomized Placebo-controlled Trial.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a global health problem. Although many aspects of NAFLD pathogenesis have been understood, there is a paucity of effective treatments to be used as the second line when lifestyle modification is insufficient. Curcumin, a natural polyphenol from turmeric, has been shown to be effective against development of hepatic steatosis and its progression to steatohepatitis, yet these beneficial effects have not been explored in clinical practice. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of curcumin on hepatic fat content as well as biochemical and anthropometric features of patients with NAFLD. In this randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial, patients with ultrasonographic evidence of NAFLD were randomly assigned to receive an amorphous dispersion curcumin formulation (500 mg/day equivalent to 70-mg curcumin) or matched placebo for a period of 8 weeks. Liver fat content (assessed through ultrasonography), glycemic and lipid profile, transaminase levels, and anthropometric indices were evaluated at baseline and at the end of follow-up period. The clinical trial protocol was registered under the Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials ID: IRCT2014110511763N18. Compared with placebo, curcumin was associated with a significant reduction in liver fat content (78.9% improvement in the curcumin vs 27.5% improvement in the placebo group). There were also significant reductions in body mass index and serum levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, glucose, and glycated hemoglobin compared with the placebo group. Curcumin was safe and well tolerated during the course of trial. Findings of the present proof-of-concept trial suggested improvement of different features of NAFLD after a short-term supplementation with curcumin.