The Benefit of Probiotics in Pediatric Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Control Trials

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2022 Sep 1;75(3):e31-e37. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000003537. Epub 2022 Jun 27.


Objectives: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to provide a summary of the current literature about the efficacy of probiotics in pediatric nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Methods: A systematic literature search through major electronic databases was carried out for RCTs till September 9, 2021, investigating the efficacy of probiotics in the treatment of pediatric patients with NAFLD. Weighted mean differences (WMD) and Standard Deviations (SD) were used to calculate continuous outcomes and a Risk Ratio with 95% CI was used for dichotomous outcomes.

Results: In total, 4 RCTs with 238 pediatric patients with NAFLD were included in the study. Probiotic supplementation revealed a statistically significant difference in transaminases' levels (ALT: WMD = -7.51 IU/L, 95% CI, -11.28 to -3.73, I 2 = 0%, P < 0.0001; AST: WMD = -6.46 IU/L, 95% CI, -9.31 to -3.61, I 2 = 0%, P < 0.00001), anthropometric characteristics, total cholesterol, triglycerides and ultrasonographic steatosis improvement.

Conclusions: According to the data of this meta-analysis, probiotic supplementation, and especially supplementation of Lactobacillus acidophilus in combination with other strains of Bifidobacterium or Lactobacillus may be beneficial in the improvement of transaminases', lipid parameters' levels, ultrasonographic, and anthropometric characteristics in children with NAFLD. Current evidence does not allow specifying the exact beneficial strain of probiotics mentioned above. The possible effect of probiotics on liver histology improvement in pediatric NAFLD should be examined in future studies.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bifidobacterium
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / therapy
  • Probiotics* / therapeutic use
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Transaminases


  • Transaminases