Nutrition in alcohol-related liver disease: Physiopathology and management

World J Gastroenterol. 2020 Jun 14;26(22):2916-2930. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v26.i22.2916.


Malnutrition encompassing both macro- and micro-nutrient deficiency, remains one of the most frequent complications of alcohol-related liver disease (ArLD). Protein-energy malnutrition can cause significant complications including sarcopenia, frailty and immunodepression in cirrhotic patients. Malnutrition reduces patient's survival and negatively affects the quality of life of individuals with ArLD. Moreover, nutritional deficit increases the likelihood of hepatic decompensation in cirrhosis. Prompt recognition of at-risk individuals, early diagnosis and treatment of malnutrition remains a key component of ArLD management. In this review, we describe the pathophysiology of malnutrition in ArLD, review the screening tools available for nutritional assessment and discuss nutritional management strategies relevant to the different stages of ArLD, ranging from acute alcoholic hepatitis through to decompensated end stage liver disease.

Keywords: Alcohol-related liver disease; Malnutrition; Micronutrients; Nutrition support; Nutritional assessment; Sarcopenia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis
  • Malnutrition* / etiology
  • Malnutrition* / therapy
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritional Status
  • Quality of Life*