(NaturalHealth365) A new study has confirmed that a specific type of omega 3 fatty acid called DHA can support liver health in persons who eat a poor diet and/or are obese. DHA supplementation is offering promise to those who have liver health risks including liver disease.
At this time, no drug can help to achieve this – only regulating diet and exercise and losing weight, if there is a weight issue. However, some people have trouble making this change efficiently, and in these cases DHA can be highly beneficial. The findings were based on a recent study done on animals and were published in PLOS ONE by researchers from Oregon State University.
DHA supplementation could prevent need for liver transplants
DHA supplements are among the most important and critical of the omega 3 fatty acids. They have been shown to stop the progression of NASH, which refers to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. If untreated, NASH can progress to more serious health issues that can become life-threatening, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.
DHA was shown to be effective even in lab animals that were given a ‘Standard American Diet’ (SAD) – one high in sugar, fat and cholesterol.
The symptoms of NASH include oxidative stress, liver inflammation and fibrosis – which increase the risk for liver health issues such as liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. And, this fact may be surprising to most people, NASH is on course to being the top cause of liver transplants by the year 2020, and there are no viable medical treatments for the condition at this time.
DHA can be lifesaving for those struggling with liver health issues related to obesity
It is estimated that almost 13 million children and 80 million adults are obese, with as many as 30 percent of adults suffering from some degree of chronic fatty liver disease. With no drugs available to treat NASH, DHA supplementation could offer tremendous promise for those struggling with losing weight and changing their diet.
While DHA cannot cause full NASH remission, it can prevent it from progressing and worsening. One study that took place over 10 years found that deaths related to liver health occurred in 12 percent of patients with liver health issues and 20 percent of those with cirrhosis.
When persons with the condition of NASH are checked for blood levels of DHA, they are found to have very low amounts of it as well as other omega 3 fatty acids. When blood levels are raised through supplementation, the progression of NASH often stops.
Yet another reason for omega 3 supplementation
Omega 3s are known for helping to regulate key biological pathways, including the oxidation, synthesis and breakdown of fats in the blood. DHA seems to be among the most significant for a range of health issues including the repair of damage caused by liver disease.
The highest levels of DHA omega 3s are found in oily fish like salmon and sardines. But, DHA can be found in eggs, poultry, liver, and some types of algae, but to a much lesser extent.
Of course, as always, choose the best quality (wild or organic) food sources for your nutrient needs and – if you should decide to consume an omega-3 fatty acids supplement – pick a quality brand product to avoid rancid oils.