Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is the primary omega-3 in marine fish. DHA reduces the inflammation from oxidative stress. DHA is beneficial in hyperlipidemia, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis. This study was of the effect of DHA on nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and nonalcoholic fatty liver.
The cause of fatty is unknown and may be asymptomatic. The current theory is that the fatty liver is not harmful until the fat becomes oxidized, causing NASH. Green tea extracts and Vitis coignetiae prevent the progress from fatty liver to fibrosis. Fatty liver increases the omega-6/omega-3 ratio in the liver. Omega-3 is depleted in nonalcoholic fatty liver associated with obesity.
Fatty livers were induced in rats by feeding them high-fat diets that were deficient in choline. The authors were studying whether DHA could alter the progression from fatty liver to NASH, whether the omega-6/omega-3 ratio changes with DHA and whether DHA reduces the oxidative damage, inflammation and fibrosis.
The rats in the study were divided into 4 groups. Some rats were used as controls. Some rats were given DHA and some were not. The result of that study was that DHA significantly reduced the omega-6/omega-3 ratio. The DHA significantly reduced the amount of fibrosis in the livers. Treatment with DHA reduced the fat oxidation. Rats treated with DHA had higher levels of the beneficial SOD enzyme. The DHA fibrosis was significantly reduced.
Fats were 5% of liver weights of the control rats. The livers of rats fed the high fat/low choline diet had 16-18% fats even with DHA. The interpretation was that DHA did not alter fatty liver.
CONCLUSION: DHA from fish oil is a functional food to prevent oxidative stress effects in the liver. DHA prevents the progression from fatty liver to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.
NOTE: Vitis coignetiae (Crimson glory vine or yama-budo, in Japanese) is related to grape. It contains pterostilbene, which is chemoprotective and may improve health (PMID: 19191604.)
Histidine and carnosine have been found to prevent fatty liver in animals eating a high saturated fat diet.
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