Purpose: This systematic review was planned and performed in order to determine the clinical effectiveness of acupuncture for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Methods: We searched related randomized controlled trials in several medical online databases, including China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Excerpta Medica dataBASE (EMBASE), Public/Publisher MEDLINE (PubMed), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), National Digital Science Library (NDSL), and Research Information Sharing Service (RISS). NAFLD related outcomes were extracted from the included trials and meta-analyzed. Results: From the 8 included trials, the values of the following examinations were extracted: liver ultrasonography, liver CT, body fat CT, aspartate transaminase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT), gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, fasting blood sugar (FBS), hosmeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), weight, body mass index (BMI), waist hip ratio (WHR), obesity degree, body fat mass, body fat rate, leptin, malondialdehyde (MDA), and super oxide dismutase (SOD). In the 4 outcomes, cure rate in liver ultrasonography (RR=1.56; 95%CI=1.05~2.31; P=0.03), cure rate in liver CT (RR=2.23; 95%CI=1.33~3.72; P=0.002), TC (MD=-0.78; 95%CI=-1.41~-0.15; P=0.02), and TG (MD=-2.05; 95%CI=-3.88~-0.21; P=0.03), acupuncture was more effective than the control intervention. Conclusions: In this meta-analysis, acupuncture relieved hepatic steatosis, and reduced TC, and TG in NAFLD patients. more well-planned studies are still needed due to the heterogeneity and the considerable methodological flaws in the analyzed trials.
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