Patients with cystic fibrosis tend to have reduced serum concentrations of vitamin E and are therefore at risk of developing the neurological complications associated with vitamin E deficiency. Improved survival in cystic fibrosis has resulted in an increasing number of older patients who may develop hepatobiliary complications which may further impair the absorption of vitamin E. In this study the vitamin E status and results of supplementation with oral vitamin E were compared in adult patients with and without evidence of liver involvement as assessed by routine liver function tests. The serum vitamin E concentrations were reduced below normal in 24 of 25 patients. The mean serum vitamin E concentration was significantly lower (p less than 0.05) in those patients with abnormal liver function. When vitamin E status was assessed as the serum vitamin E/cholesterol ratio, however, there was no significant difference between those patients with normal and abnormal liver function. After supplementation with oral vitamin E, either 10 mg/kg/day for one month or 200 mg/day (equivalent to 3.4 to 4.4 mg/kg/day) for up to three months, there was no significant difference in the vitamin E status between the two groups. The results of this study indicate that in general, patients with cystic fibrosis and abnormal liver function do not require increased supplements of vitamin E compared with those with normal liver function.
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