Omega-3 May Help Fight Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty Liver DiseaseAccording to a new pilot study a high dose Omega-3 supplement may improve Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) markers.

This pre-specified sub study of the WELCOME Trial (Wessex Evaluation of Fatty Liver and Cardiovascular markers in NAFLD with Omacor Therapy), a double blinded randomized controlled trial, looked at 16 individuals with NAFLD.  These participants were randomized to receive either 4 grams per day of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids or a placebo.  Red blood cell counts (RBC) of DHA were taken at the beginning of the study and at the end of the study.  Additionally various parameters of NAFLD, hepatic and whole-body insulin sensitivity, existing liver fat, triglyceride levels, Fatty Acid (FA) oxidation and DNL(de novo lipogenesis), were also assessed.  Significant improvements in hepatic insulin sensitivity (not whole body insulin sensitivity) and liver metabolism were seen in participants whose red blood cell (RBC) DHA levels increased by over 2%.  A 26% reduction in existing liver fat content was also seen although this was not considered statistically significant.

No guidelines were given to the participants to avoid consuming oily fish during the trial period which most likely accounted for one of the placebo group participants showing increased RBC DHA levels over 2%.  Another drawback of the study design was that the primary outcome studied by researchers was the effect of raising RBC DHA on NAFLD markers.  No attempt to determine if EPA levels had any effect on these markers was made.  Future testing might attempt to determine the effect a DHA only oil would have on NAFLD markers.




Curcumin Touted For Metabolic Benefits in People with Fatty Liver Disease

LiverA new study suggests daily supplementation with Curcumin (Turmeric) might improve Body Mass Index (BMI), metabolic status and liver biomarkers in people with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).

87 people with grades 1-3 NAFLD (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease) participated in this randomized controlled clinical study.  The study lasted 8 weeks.  Participants were assigned randomly to receive either a 1,000 mg daily dosage (divided into 2 doses) of Curcumin or a placebo.  Researchers found a statistically significant reduction in BMI, .99 points in the group supplementing with Curcumin compared to .15 points in the group taking the placebo.  Additionally waist circumference decreased by 1.74 for those taking the Curcumin compared to a reduction of .23 in the group supplementing with the placebo.  Also, Ultrasonographic findings were improved in 75% of the participants in the Curcumin group compared to an improvement in 4.5% of the placebo group.  Curcumin was also associated with a reduction in LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, triglycerides, non-high density lipoprotein cholesterol and uric acid levels.

NAFLD is the most common type of chronic liver disorders and affects approximately 30% of the population and between 60 – 70% of individuals who have diabetes or who are obese.

Further studies are needed.