Vitamin D supplementation and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: A critical and systematic review of clinical trials
Previous observational studies have found a relationship between vitamin D deficiency and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, this type of study could not show the causal relationship between these two conditions. Therefore, we systematically and critically reviewed the available clinical trials to elucidate such relationship. We searched databases such as Medline, Scopus and Cochrane to identify the clinical trials that assessed the effects of vitamin D supplementation in adults with NAFLD. The outcome variables of interest were indicators of hepatic steatosis, liver enzymes, insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress. A total of 6 studies were included in the qualitative analysis. Only in two studies the grade of hepatic steatosis decreased significantly after vitamin D supplementation. The changes in insulin resistance parameters were reported significant only in one. Of the 3 included studies that measured biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress, one revealed a significant decrease in these biomarkers after vitamin D supplementation. Findings from current review study provided new insight into the factors that could affect the therapeutic role of vitamin D in NAFLD. Factors such as gender differences, baseline serum status of vitamin D, co-supplementation with calcium and gene polymorphism should be considered when designing future clinical trials.