Background/aims: To investigate the advantage of Chlorella vulgaris supplementation as an adjunctive therapy in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Methodology: In a randomized, open-label clinical trial, 76 individuals with NAFLD were randomly assigned to: 1) Chlorella group (n=33), receiving C. vulgaris extract (1200 mg/day) + metformin (750 mg/ day) + vitamin E (200 mg/day) for 3 months, or 2) Metformin group (n=43), receiving metformin (1250 mg/ day) + vitamin E (200 mg/day) for 3 months. Weight, body mass index (BMI), homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index as well as serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), insulin, total and direct bilirubin, fasting blood sugar (FBS), glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), uric acid, albumin and lipid profile were evaluated at baseline and at the end of trial.
Results: Weight and BMI were decreased in both groups. Serum ALT, AST, triglycerides, uric acid, HbA1c and HOMA-IR index were reduced only in the Chlorella group whereas significant changes in total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and FBS were only observed in the metformin group. There were also borderline significant reductions in insulin and FBS in the Chlorella group.
Conclusions: The findings of the present trial indicated that addition of C. vulgaris extract to the therapeutic regimen of NAFLD including metformin and vitamin E, is associated with favorable effects on serum levels of transaminases, triglycerides as well as insulin sensitivity. Therefore, C. vulgaris extract might be a promising hepatoprotective supplement for patients with NAFLD.