Genistein supplementation improves insulin resistance and inflammatory state in non-alcoholic fatty liver patients: A randomized, controlled trial

Clin Nutr. 2018 Aug;37(4):1210-1215. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2017.05.028. Epub 2017 Jun 1.


Background & aims: The beneficial effect of genistein has indicated on metabolic disorders and inflammatory state. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of genistein supplementation on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) as the hepatic manifest of metabolic syndrome.

Methods: In the present randomized double-blind controlled trial, patients with NAFLD were daily supplemented with either 250 mg genistein (n = 41) or placebo (n = 41) for 8-weeks. Both groups were instructed to follow an energy-balanced diet and physical activity recommendations. And their anthropometric and biochemical indices were assessed before and after the intervention.

Results: At the end of the study, the genistein group had lower level of serum insulin (p = 0.001) and homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) (p = 0.041) compare to the placebo group. In addition serum malondialdehyde (MDA) (p = 0.004), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) (p = 0.045) and interleukin (IL)-6 (p = 0.018) also were lower in the genistein group. Compare with placebo, genistein supplementation significantly reduced waist to hip ratio (p = 0.021), body fat percentage (p = 0.015) and triglyceride (p = 0.018). However, there were no significant changes in BMI, fasting blood glucose (p = 0.122), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (p = 0.536), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (p = 0.265) between the two groups.

Conclusions: Oral supplementation with 250 mg genistein for 8-weeks can reduce insulin resistance, oxidative and inflammatory indices along with improvement in fat metabolism in patients with NAFLD. Studies with longer duration and larger samples might be needed to reveal other beneficial effects of genistein.

Keywords: Genistein; Inflammation; Insulin resistance; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Genistein / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Insulin
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Genistein