Background: Since lifestyle changes are main therapies for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), changing dietary components (nutritional or bioactive) may play a parallel important role. Few studies have assessed the effects of curcumin on NAFLD (mainly antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects). We aimed to determine the effects of nano-curcumin (NC) on overweight/obese NAFLD patients by assessing glucose, lipids, inflammation, insulin resistance, and liver function indices, especially through nesfatin.
Methods: This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted in the Oil Company Central Hospital, Tehran. 84 overweight/obese patients with NAFLD diagnosed using ultrasonography were recruited according to the eligibility criteria (age 25-50 yrs., body mass index [BMI] 25-35 kg/m2). The patients were randomly divided into two equal NC (n = 42) and placebo (n = 42) groups. Interventions were two 40 mg capsules/day after meals for 3 months. Lifestyle changes were advised. A general questionnaire, a 24-h food recall (at the beginning, middle and end), and the short-form international physical activity questionnaire (at the beginning and end) were completed. Also, blood pressure, fatty liver degree, anthropometrics, fasting blood sugar (FBS) and insulin (FBI), glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI), total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), high sensitive c-reactive protein (hs-CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), liver transaminases, and nesfatin were determined at the beginning and end.
Results: NC compared with placebo significantly increased HDL, QUICKI, and nesfatin and decreased fatty liver degree, liver transaminases, waist circumference (WC), FBS, FBI, HbA1c, TG, TC, LDL, HOMA-IR, TNF-α, hs-CRP, and IL-6 (P < 0.05). The mean changes in weight, BMI, body composition (BC), and blood pressure were not significant (P > 0.05). After adjustment for confounders, the changes were similar to the unadjusted model.
Conclusion: NC supplementation in overweight/obese NAFLD patients improved glucose indices, lipids, inflammation, WC, nesfatin, liver transaminases, and fatty liver degree. Accordingly, the proposed mechanism for ameliorating NAFLD with NC was approved by the increased serum nesfatin and likely consequent improvements in inflammation, lipids, and glucose profile. Further trials of nano-curcumin's effects are suggested.
Trial registration: Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials, IRCT2016071915536N3. Registered 2016-08-02.
Keywords: Iran; Nano-curcumin; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Obesity; Overweight.