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An Argument for Vitamin D, A, and Zinc Monitoring in Cirrhosis

Andree H. Koop, Omar Y. Mousa, Ly Elaine Pham, Juan E. Corral-Hurtado, Surakit Pungpapong, Andrew P. Keaveny

Abstract

Malnutrition is prevalent in cirrhosis. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, including vitamin D, vitamin A, and zinc, are common and have been shown to correlate with survival. Our aim was to review the mechanisms of vitamin D, vitamin A, and zinc deficiencies in cirrhosis and the clinical assessment of affected patients, their outcomes based on the current literature, and management. This is a narrative review including the relevant literature for cirrhosis and vitamin D, vitamin A, and zinc deficiencies. Vitamin D deficiency has important effects in cirrhosis, regardless of the cause of chronic liver disease. These effects include associations with fibrosis and outcomes such as infections, hepatocellular carcinoma, and mortality. Vitamin A deficiency is associated with liver disease progression to cirrhosis and clinical decompensation, including occurrence of ascites or hepatic encephalopathy. Zinc deficiency can lead to hepatic encephalopathy and impaired immune function. Such deficiencies correlate with patient survival and disease severity. Caution should be applied when replacing vitamin D, vitamin A, and zinc to avoid toxicity. Identification and appropriate treatment of vitamin and mineral deficiencies in cirrhosis may reduce specific nutritional and cirrhosis-related adverse events. Routine monitoring of vitamin A, vitamin D and zinc levels in cirrhosis should be considered.

Key words. Cirrhosis, Vitamin A deficiency, Vitamin D deficiency, Zinc deficiency

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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