Nutrition and Alcoholic Liver Disease: Effects of Alcoholism on Nutrition, Effects of Nutrition on Alcoholic Liver Disease, and Nutritional Therapies for Alcoholic Liver Disease

Clin Liver Dis. 2016 Aug;20(3):535-50. doi: 10.1016/j.cld.2016.02.010. Epub 2016 Apr 23.


Malnutrition is the most frequent and nearly universal consequence in alcoholic liver disease (ALD) that adversely affects clinical outcomes. Sarcopenia or skeletal muscle loss is the major component of malnutrition in liver disease. There are no effective therapies to prevent or reverse sarcopenia in ALD because the mechanisms are not well understood. Consequences of liver disease including hyperammonemia, hormonal perturbations, endotoxemia and cytokine abnormalities as well as the direct effects of alcohol and its metabolites contribute to sarcopenia in ALD. This article focuses on the prevalence, methods to quantify malnutrition, specifically sarcopenia and potential therapies including novel molecular targeted treatments.

Keywords: Alcoholic liver disease; Malnutrition; Mitochondria; Molecular pathways; Myostatin; Reactive oxygen species; Sarcopenia; Skeletal muscle loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / complications*
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / therapy*
  • Malnutrition / complications*
  • Malnutrition / epidemiology
  • Malnutrition / therapy*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Nutrition Therapy
  • Nutritional Status
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sarcopenia / etiology
  • Sarcopenia / metabolism