A recent clinical trial, published in Drug Research,1 indicates that curcumin, in the form of Indena’s (Milan) proprietary, bioavailable ingredient Meriva, has the potential to improve liver health in subjects with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In the study, researchers assessed the metabolic profiles of subjects with NAFLD using multiple liver parameters and found that supplementation with Meriva may improve the subjects’ health status. Specifically, the researchers found that Meriva helped to reduce subjects’ body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT), total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The company says that this randomized, controlled study is “the first clinical study investigating the effects, efficacy, and safety of curcumin phytosome supplementation in fatty liver disorders.”
NAFLD is characterized by excess lipid deposition in the hepatic tissues of the liver, leading to oxidation and inflammation. Curcumin is a dietary polyphenol with purported antioxidant, lipid-modifying, and anti-inflammatory properties. As Antonella Riva, product research manager, Indena, noted in a press release: “Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common chronic liver disorder in the Western countries, affecting 30% of the general adult population [and] up to 60%-70% [of] diabetic and obese patients.”
Eighty-six patients with varying grades of NAFLD (grades 1-3, according to liver ultrasonography) were recruited for this study. For a period of eight weeks, the subjects were given a daily supplement of either 1,000 mg/day of Meriva curcumin in phytosome form (in two 500-mg capsules), or the equivalent dosage of a placebo. At baseline, researchers measured subjects’ height, weight, and BMI. In addition, the study authors collected fasting blood samples both at baseline and after the eight-week study period. Liver fat content and severity of hepatic steatosis were also evaluated at baseline and eight weeks using a Mindray DC-8 diagnostic ultrasound system.
While the study authors did not observe major differences between the groups in terms of blood pressure, supplementation with the curcumin ingredient was associated with significant reductions in other liver markers. Most significantly, the group supplemented with Meriva showed significant reductions in BMI and waist circumference, compared to the placebo group. Liver health was improved for the Meriva group as well, with an increase in hepatic vein flow, a reduction of portal vein diameter and liver volume, and reduced serum levels of AST and ALT. In addition, curcumin was found to be safe and well-tolerated, with no adverse events reported in the study.
Overall, the study authors said, the results indicate that phytosomal curcumin shows great promise for helping to reduce the parameters associated with fatty liver disease. Riva added: “The positive results we obtained show that our bioavailable curcumin formulation may help to improve the health status in these subjects.”
- Panahi Y et al. “Efficacy and safety of phytosomal curcumim in non-alcoholic fatty disease: a randomized controlled trial.” Drug Research, vol. 67, no. 04 (2017): 244-251