June 21, 2004
Synbiotics, Fiber May Help Treat Liver-related BrainDysfunction
BEIJING--Supplementation with synbiotics or fermentable fiber may help manageminimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE, brain dysfunction directly due to liverdysfunction) in patients with cirrhosis, according to a newly published study inthe May issue of Hepatology (39, 5:1441-9, 2004) (www.hepatology.org).
Researchers from Beijing Youan Hospital and Capital University of MedicalSciences in Beijing assigned 55 subjects with MHE to randomly receive asynbiotic preparation (20 subjects), fermentable fiber (20 subjects) or placebo(15 subjects) for 30 days. After 30 days of supplementation, synbiotic treatmentsignificantly increased the fecal content of non-urease-producing Lactobacillusacidophilus bacteria, which in turn, was associated with a significantreduction in blood ammonia levels and a reversal of MHE in half the subjects.Researchers also noted supplementation with fermentable fiber was beneficial ina substantial proportion of the subjects.
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