Background: The pathogenesis of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is unclear. Recent studies suggested that oxidative stress plays an important role in the mechanism of NASH. Excessive accumulation of iron in the liver causes oxidative stress. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the grade of hepatic iron accumulation and the therapeutic response to restriction of calories, fat and iron in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Methods: Twenty-seven NAFLD patients were enrolled. The patients were categorized into two groups: 17 patients with NASH and 10 with simple steatosis. Twelve NAFLD patients (NASH, n = 9; simple steatosis, n = 3) were given a dietary prescription including restriction of energy, fat and iron.
Results: Positive iron staining was observed in 71% and 50% of patients with NASH and simple steatosis, respectively. The average energy intake, fat energy fraction and iron intake decreased significantly 6 months after the beginning of the diet in all patients. In addition, the levels of serum transaminase and ferritin were significantly decreased.
Conclusion: Dietary restriction of calories, fat and iron improved NAFLD. Reduced serum ferritin levels appear to reduce oxidative stress in the liver.