DHA Supplements Could Stop the Progression of Cirrhosis, Liver Cancer

By KM Diaz, | April 20, 2017

DHA is commonly found in oily fish like sardines, tuna, mackerel, and salmon.

DHA is commonly found in oily fish like sardines, tuna, mackerel, and salmon.

A specific type of omega 3 fatty acid could prevent cirrhosis and liver cancer.

The researchers from Oregon State University have found that DHA, which is essential for the omega 3 fatty acids, could stop the nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) development before it becomes a serious and life-threatening health conditions. The findings published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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NASH is considered to be a risk factor for liver cancer and cirrhosis, and associated with oxidative stress, fibrosis, as well as liver inflammation. It is also said to be one of the leading causes of liver transplants since the FDA has no approved medical treatments as of the moment.

The researchers tested the patients with NASH; the results showed that the patients have decreased levels of omega 3 fatty acids. If these levels will increase, there is a possibility that the progression of the disease will stop. 

Donald Jump, the principal investigator in the Linus Pauling Institute and a professor in the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences, says that the DHA supplementation did not entirely attain the remission of NASH, but it stops it from getting worse.

Omega 3 fatty acids are important in the administration of biological pathways such as oxidation, the breakdown of triglycerides, and fatty acid synthesis. DHA is one of the natural nutrients that is significant for omega 3 fatty acids, and have an important role in repairing the damage to the liver.

One of the highest levels of DHA is commonly found in oily fish like sardines, tuna, mackerel, and salmon, and a lesser extent to other foods including egg yolks, poultry, liver, and certain algae. DHA also become one of the ingredients of some mineral formulas, as well as prenatal vitamins because it shows a potential in developing the fetus.

EPA, on the other hand, is another type of omega 3 fatty acids. According to Jump, EPA has no evidence in decreasing fibrosis and liver fat, likely due to low conversion of humans of EPA into DHA.

Meanwhile, the medical approach for NASH is based on lifestyle management such as exercise and diet. But because of the current findings, the researchers believe that DHA could be an ideal treatment, and perhaps reverse liver damage. In addition, the researchers noted that DHA supplements are available and safe to use.

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