Diagnosis and treatment of nutritional deficiencies in alcoholic liver disease: Overview of available evidence and open issues

Roberta Elisa Rossi, Dario Conte, Sara Massironi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Malnutrition is common in alcoholic liver disease and is associated with high rates of complications and mortality. In this article, the current literature was reviewed to highlight the relevance of proper nutritional management providing levels of evidence, when available. A PubMed search was performed for English-language publications from 1980 through 2014 with the keywords: alcoholic liver disease, nutritional deficiencies, nutritional support, enteral nutrition, parenteral nutrition, and protein-energy malnutrition. Manuscripts focused on nutritional approach in patients with alcoholic liver disease were selected.Although nutritional support for malnourished patients improves the outcome of hospitalization, surgery, transplantation and reduces the complications of liver disease and the length of hospital stay, specific guidelines are scanty. Both enteral and parenteral nutrition appear to improve nutritional parameters and liver function; however data on survival is often conflicting. As micronutrient depletion is common in alcoholic liver disease and each deficiency produces specific sequelae, all cirrhotic patients should be screened at baseline for deficiencies of micronutrient and supplemented as needed.In summary, protein-energy malnutrition and micronutrient depletion are clinical concerns in alcoholic liver disease. Nutritional therapy, including enteral nutrition, parenteral nutrition and micronutrient supplementation should be part of the multidisciplinary management of these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-825
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Enteral nutrition
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Nutritional support
  • Parenteral nutrition
  • Protein-energy malnutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Hepatology

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