According to recent studies, it suggests that higher early childhood intake of vitamin E correlated with a lower risk for elevated mid-childhood alanine aminotransferase levels

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in children, and the prevalence of pediatric NAFLD has increased rapidly over the past two decades,” Jennifer A. Woo Baidal, MD, MPH, from the Columbia University Medical Center, New York, and colleagues wrote.

Vitamin E is a prime candidate for protection against the development of NAFLD because its antioxidant properties may combat lipotoxic effects of free fatty acids and metabolites, which play a role in hepatocellular damage,” researchers added.

According to Woo Baidal and colleagues, higher intake of the alpha-tocopherol isoform of vitamin E previously demonstrated a cross-sectional correlation with lower degrees of steatosis, and alpha-tocopherol supplementation improved histologic outcomes.

The researchers selected 528 children from the ongoing prospective birth cohort study Project Viva, 22% of whom had elevated mid-childhood ALT levels. Children with elevated ALT levels had similar maternal-reported early childhood mean total energy intake as those with normal ALT levels.

In early childhood, the researchers found that fruit and vegetable intake and energy-adjusted saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, fructose, vitamin D and vitamin C intake correlated significantly with vitamin E intake (P < .001).

Children in the second, third and fourth higher quartiles of early childhood vitamin E intake had significantly lower risk for elevated ALT in mid-childhood according to both unadjusted (OR = 0.65; 95% CI, 0.41-1.02) and adjusted analysis (OR = 0.62; 95% CI, 0.39-0.99) compared with those in the lowest quartile.

Results persisted after the researchers accounted for early childhood diet, adjusted with the significant dietary factors above (OR = 0.62; 95% CI, 0.36-1.08), and after adjusting for old childhood diet with mid-childhood BMI z score (OR = 0.56; 95% CI, 0.32-0.99).

“Substantial evidence shows a link between intake of fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin E and severity of NAFLD in children with biopsy-proven steatohepatitis,” the researchers wrote.

 “Our findings suggest that modifiable risk factors, specifical intake of vitamin E, should be considered in future interventions to identify approaches to prevent pediatric NAFLD.” – by Talitha Bennett