The effect of alpha-lipoic acid on inflammatory markers and body composition in obese patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

J Clin Pharm Ther. 2019 Apr;44(2):258-267. doi: 10.1111/jcpt.12784. Epub 2018 Dec 25.


What is known and objective: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver injury. Some animal studies suggest that alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) can improve disease outcome. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of ALA supplementation on liver enzymes and inflammatory markers in obese patients with NAFLD.

Methods: In the current randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, 50 obese patients with NAFLD were randomly allocated to either "ALA"(received 1200 mg ALA as two capsules per day plus 400 mg vitamin E) or "placebo"(received placebo containing starch, as two capsules per day plus 400 mg vitamin E) groups for 12 weeks. Body composition and anthropometric measures, serum levels of liver enzymes, adiponectin, interleukin-6 (IL-6), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and ferritin were measured at baseline and the end of the study.

Results and discussion: A total number of 45 patients completed the study (ALA group = 23; placebo group = 22). The serum concentration of IL-6 decreased significantly in ALA group in comparison with the placebo group, at end of the study (P = 0.049). Furthermore, ALA intake resulted in a significant increase in serum adiponectin levels compared to placebo (P = 0.008). A significant improvement was observed in liver steatosis grade of the patients in both groups, compared to baseline (P < 0.05). However, there was no difference between the two groups for the changes in liver steatosis, by the end of the study. Body composition and anthropometric measures, liver enzymes, MCP-1 and ferritin serum levels were not significantly different between the study groups, neither at the baseline nor at the end of the study.

What is new and conclusion: Collectively, ALA supplementation improved serum adiponectin and IL-6 levels, without changing serum liver enzymes and liver steatosis in obese patients with NAFLD.

Keywords: adiponectin; alpha-lipoic acid; inflammation; liver enzymes; non-alcoholic fatty liver; obesity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / drug therapy*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / physiopathology
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Thioctic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Thioctic Acid / pharmacology
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage


  • Adiponectin
  • Biomarkers
  • Interleukin-6
  • Vitamin E
  • Thioctic Acid