DHA Omega-3 Fatty Acid Helps Prevent NASH

An estimated 25% of the US population and 75% of those suffering with obesity have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. It this disease is not treated, it can lead to more serious forms of liver disease like NASH, cirrhosis and liver cancer. And, of course, these more serious forms of liver disease often lead to death. However, according to research at Oregon State University, there may be an easy and relatively inexpensive prevention and treatment of NASH before it leads to more serious forms of liver disease.

The study found that DHA omega-3 fatty acids were much more effective at reducing the liver proteins involved in liver fibrosis than EPA omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, EPA did very little to reduce the number of these proteins while DHA reduced them by more than 65%. This is a huge reduction in liver scarring.

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is found in cold water fish, algae, squid, krill and some plants like flaxseed and hemp. For those of you who don’t like fish, DHA can be found in supplement pill form. Some of the fish with the highest omega-3 content are tuna, salmon, sardines and herring. I personally am not fond of salmon, but I enjoy tuna, sardines and smoked herring. By eating fish, of course, you not only get the healthy oils, but you also get a healthy protein source of food.

Since almost 40% of people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease develop NASH, using DHA to prevent and treat NASH can be a huge life saving discovery. Cans of tuna, sardines or herring are relatively inexpensive compared to drug therapy. And omega-3 supplements are now common in the vitamin and mineral sections of most stores. Of course, a DHA treatment plan would be even more effective with a dietary and exercise change in lifestyle.

If you are diagnosed with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, talk with your health care provider about starting a DHA treatment plan to prevent your disease from developing into NASH. Even if you already have NASH, DHA may be an inexpensive and effective treatment to prevent your disease from turning into cirrhosis, liver cancer or worse.

Back to Fatty Liver Diet

Sources:

Oregon State University: Some omega-3 oils better than others for protection against liver disease