1Gastroenterology, Department of Clinical Medicine, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Rome, Italy. email@example.com.
2Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
3Gastroenterology, Department of Clinical Medicine, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
There is a relationship between hepatic encephalopathy (HE) protein malnutrition and muscle wasting. Muscle may play an alternative role in ammonia detoxification. Molecular mechanisms responsible for muscle depletion are under investigation. Specific nutrients may interact to reverse the molecular pathways involved in muscle wasting at an early stage. Training exercises have also been proposed to improve skeletal muscle mass. However, these data refer to small groups of patients. The amelioration of muscle mass may potentially help to prevent HE. The pathogenesis of HE is associated with modifications of the gut microbiota and diet is emerging to play a relevant role in the modulation of the gut milieu. Vegetarian and fibre-rich diets have been shown to induce beneficial changes on gut microbiota in healthy people, with reduction of Bacteroides spp., Enterobacteriaceae, and Clostridium cluster XIVa bacteria. By way of contrast, it has been suggested that a high-fat or protein diet may increase Firmicutes and reduce Bacteroidetes phylum. Milk-lysozyme and milk-oligosaccharides have also been proposed to induce a "healthy" microbiota. At present, no studies have been published describing the modification of the gut microbiota in cirrhotic patients with HE as a response to specific diets. New research is needed to evaluate the potentiality of foods in the modulation of gut microbiota in liver disease and HE.