A study from Indonesia has shown that giving amino acid L-ornithine-L-aspartate supplements to patients with liver cirrhosis improves their quality of life.
One of the serious complications arising from liver cirrhosis is hepatic_encephalopathy, the subject of this study. Patients with hepatic encephalopathy may suffer confusion, altered level of consciousness, and coma as a result of liver failure. It can even lead to death.
S Ndraha, I Hasan and M Simadibrata, from the University of Indonesia’s Faculty of Medicine, hoped to prevent this. They studied patients with minimal hepatic encephalopathy, which if not treated will lead to overt hepatic encephalopathy.
One treatment for minimal hepatic encephalopathy is to lower ammonia levels. This is because toxic substances—which are normally removed by the liver– build up in the bloodstream. Lowering ammonia levels is done by severely limiting protein intake. However, this leads to malnutrition. In fact, malnutrition in liver cirrhosis sufferers can be as high as 90%.
The researchers conducted a double blind clinical trial where 34 malnourished liver cirrhosis patients with minimal hepatic encephalopathy were given L-ornithine-L-aspartate granules, or a placebo, for two weeks.
Amino acid L-ornithine-L-aspartate reduces ammonia in the body, thus helping with liver cirrhosis.
The L-ornithine-L-aspartate granules showed the level of ammonia was significantly decreased. And minimal hepatic encephalopathy—measured on the CFF scale—was significantly improved.
The study proved the nutritional status of patients with liver cirrhosis is improved by L-ornithine-L-aspartate.