Review article: omega-3 fatty acids - a promising novel therapy for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

G. S. Masterton, J. N. Plevris, P. C. Hayes

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract

P>Background

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease affects 10-35% of the adult population worldwide; there is no consensus on its treatment. Omega-3 fatty acids have proven benefits for hyperlipidaemia and cardiovascular disease, and have recently been suggested as a treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Aims

To review the evidence base for omega-3 fatty acids in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and critically appraise the literature relating to human trials.

Methods

A Medline and PubMed search was performed to identify relevant literature using search terms 'omega-3', 'N-3 PUFA', 'eicosapentaenoic acid', 'docosahexaenoic acid', 'non-alcoholic fatty liver disease' and 'NAFLD'.

Results

Omega-3 fatty acids are important regulators of hepatic gene transcription. Animal studies demonstrate that they reduce hepatic steatosis, improve insulin sensitivity and reduce markers of inflammation. Clinical trials in human subjects generally confirm these findings, but have significant design inadequacies.

Conclusions

Omega-3 fatty acids are a promising treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which require to be tested in randomized placebo-controlled trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-692
Number of pages14
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Volume31
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010

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