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Vitamin E and C supplementation prevents decrease of eicosapentaenoic acid in mononuclear cells in chronic hepatitis C patients during combination therapy of interferon ?-2b and ribavirin *

Objective We investigated the effects of vitamin E and C supplementation on the fatty acid composition of mononuclear cells and on the clinical observations in patients who had chronic hepatitis C and received interferon-α-2b (IFN-α-2b) and ribavirin combination therapy.

Methods Patients were randomly allocated to receive daily 500 mg of vitamin E and 750 mg of vitamin C (vitamin group, n = 14) or no supplement (non-vitamin group, n = 16) in addition to IFN-α-2b and ribavirin therapy. The fatty acid composition of mononuclear cell phospholipids was analyzed before and at 2, 4, and 8 wk after treatment.

Results After vitamin supplementation, plasma and red blood cell α-tocopherol and plasma ascorbic acid levels increased in the vitamin group. Serum levels of alanine aminotransferase decreased significantly after 2 wk of treatment in both groups. At the start of treatment, a lower level of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and a higher level of the molar ratio of arachidonic acid to EPA in mononuclear cells were observed in the present patients compared with healthy volunteers, and a significant correlation between the molar ratio and serum alanine aminotransferase level was found. The EPA level of mononuclear cells was maintained in the vitamin group during treatment, whereas a significant decrease was observed in the non-vitamin group at 4 and 8 wk after treatment.

Conclusions Antioxidant vitamin supplementation during IFN-α-2b and ribavirin therapy prevented a decrease in EPA of mononuclear cell phospholipids. If a further decrease in the ratio of arachidonic acid to EPA can be achieved by using oral EPA supplementation, the efficacy of IFN-α-2b and ribavirin therapy may be improved.


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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 11-24-2008
Authors: Yasuko Murakami B.S.a, , , Ayako Nagai M.S.a, Takayo Kawakami Ph.D.a, Keisuke Hino M.D.b, Akira Kitase M.D.c, Yuh-ichi Hara M.D.c, Michiari Okuda M.D.c, Kiwamu Okita M.D.c and Misako Okita Ph.D.a
Source: Nutrition Volume 22, Issue 2, February 2006, Pages 114-122