Effects of one-year supplementation with Phyllanthus niruri on fibrosis score and metabolic markers in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Heliyon. 2023 May 30;9(6):e16652. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e16652. eCollection 2023 Jun.


Background and purpose: and purpose: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a significant global health concern with limited pharmacotherapy options. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a standardized extract of Phyllanthus niruri in mild-to-moderate NAFLD.

Materials and methods: This was a 12-month randomized controlled trial, in which adults with a controlled attenuation parameter (CAP) score >250 dB/m and a fibrosis score <10 kPa were randomly assigned to receive a standardized P. niruri extract at a dose of 3,000 mg daily (n = 112) or a placebo (n = 114). The primary outcomes were changes in CAP score and liver enzyme levels, while the secondary outcomes were changes in other metabolic parameters. The analysis was performed on an intention-to-treat basis.

Results: After 12 months, there was no significant difference in the change of CAP score between the intervention and control groups (-15.05 ± 36.76 dB/m vs. -14.74 ± 41.08 dB/m; p = 0.869). There was also no significant difference in the changes of liver enzyme levels between the two groups. However, the intervention group showed a significant reduction in fibrosis score, which was not observed in the control group (-0.64 ± 1.66 kPa versus 0.10 ± 1.61 kPa; p = 0.001). No major adverse events were reported in either group.

Conclusion: This study showed that P. niruri did not significantly reduce CAP score and liver enzyme levels in patients with mild-to-moderate NAFLD. However, a significant improvement in fibrosis score was observed. Further research is needed to determine its clinical benefits at different dosages for NAFLD treatment.

Keywords: Fibrosis; Herbal medicine; Liver cirrhosis; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Phyllanthus.