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A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics

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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2013 December;59(4):341-56

language: English

Silymarin and S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe): two promising pharmacological agents in case of chronic alcoholic hepathopathy. A review and a point of view

Testino G. 1, Leone S. 2, Ansaldi F. 3, Borro P. 1

1 Centro Alcologico Regionale - Regione Liguria Unità Operativa di Alcologia e Patologie Correlate, Department of General Internal and Specialistic Medicine Irccs AOU San Martino - National Institute for CancerResearch, Genoa, Italy;
2 School of Toxicology, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy;
3 Preventive Medicine, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy


The alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is the leading cause of death from liver failure in Italy and worldwide. Ethanol abstention, a healthy diet, and a significant improvement of life-style are the mainstay of treatment for this disease. Currently, we do not have effective therapeutic options are at our disposal to restore and maintain an improved clinical status. Silymarin is a complementary and alternative medicine often prescribed and self-prescribed; it has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-fibrotic, and metabolic properties. It improves the laboratoristic values and the ultrasonographic grading of liver disease in case of steatosis/steatohepatitis. S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) is the principal biological methyl donor, and it is also a precursor of glutathione (GSH), essential for the anti-oxidant pathways. SAMe is particularly important for opposing the toxicity of free radicals generated by various toxins, including alcohol. An association between Silymarin and SAMe (labelled as a dietary supplement) has been recently brought to market, and seems to be promising. It could be beneficial in such cases of alcoholic hepathopathies. New therapeutic options are needed by hepatologists to successfully overcome a constantly growing disease.

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