Role of Probiotics in the Treatment of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Meta-analysis

Euroasian J Hepatogastroenterol. 2017 Jul-Dec;7(2):130-137. doi: 10.5005/jp-journals-10018-1233. Epub 2017 Sep 29.


Aim: Despite extensive ongoing research, there is scarcity of widely accepted therapeutic options for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Probiotics are a promising treatment option for treating NAFLD; however, their effectiveness needs to be established. Since any single randomized controlled trial (RCT) cannot establish the role of probiotics in the treatment of NAFLD, this study aims at meta-analysis of different RCTs.

Materials and methods: Extensive search was done by two independent observers for RCTs studying the role of probiotics in the treatment of NAFLD. The parameters under consideration were body mass index (BMI), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), serum triglycerides (TGs), and ultrasonographic grades of fatty liver. Jadad scale was used to select the articles for meta-analysis. Heterogeneity in the results was evaluated using chi-square test and I2. Significant heterogeneity in the results was decided based on p-value < 0.05 and the corresponding I2 close to 0%.

Results: Seven studies qualified for meta-analysis. Use of probiotics significantly caused reduction in BMI (p < 0.0001), ALT (p < 0.0001), AST (< 0.0001), HOMA-IR (p = 0.006), and ultrasonographic grade of fatty liver (p = 0.0051). Heterogeneity in other parameters was contributed mainly by couple of previous studies.

Conclusion: Meta-analysis shows that variety of parameters has significant improvement after probiotic treatment in different RCTs. However, the magnitude of improvement is not uniform across studies due to varying strains, dose patterns, and treatment duration. In future, probiotics remain a promising option for treating NAFLD.How to cite this article: Lavekar AS, Raje DV, Manohar T, Lavekar AA. Role of Probiotics in the Treatment of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Meta-analysis. Euroasian J Hepato-Gastroenterol 2017;7(2):130-137.

Keywords: Meta-analysis; Probiotics; Ultrasonographic grade.; Heterogeneity.