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Keywords:

  • α-glucosidase inhibitor;
  • branched-chain amino acid;
  • late evening snack;
  • liver cirrhosis;
  • nutritional therapy

Aim:  A late evening snack (LES) is recommended for protein-energy malnutrition in patients with liver cirrhosis. However, many cases of liver cirrhosis have accompanying impaired glucose tolerance and there are concerns that LESs might aggravate glucose intolerance. In this study, we concomitantly used an α-glucosidase inhibitor with a LES and examined the effects on glucose tolerance. In addition, we examined whether or not there was an improvement in energy metabolism by slowing glucose absorption with the concomitant use of the α-glucosidase inhibitor.

Methods:  The subjects were 11 patients with liver cirrhosis. From before the study, all the patients had been taking a LES supplementation with a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA)-enriched nutrient mixture. The patients were started on the concomitant use of α-glucosidase inhibitor (0.2 mg) taken just prior to the LES. The change of glucose tolerance and energy metabolism were examined using a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test and indirect calorimetry.

Results:  One week and three months after the start of the concomitant use of the α-glucosidase inhibitor, the area under the concentration curve for plasma glucose was significantly decreased. Three months after the concomitant use, the non-protein respiratory quotient was significantly improved. There were no serious side effects during the follow-ups.

Conclusion:  The concomitant use of the α-glucosidase inhibitor use with LES showed the possibility of improving glucose tolerance and energy metabolism. In patients with impaired glucose tolerance, the concomitant use of an α-glucosidase inhibitor with LES might be a useful measure for nutritional management.