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Omega-3s may help fight non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) occurs when excess fat builds up in the liver due to causes other than alcohol. Chances increase with diabetes, obesity, and age, and there is currently no approved drug treatment.

The liver has many important metabolic functions. It helps turn nutrients from food into energy, helps digest fats, and removes bacteria and other toxins from the blood. The liver also prevents nutrient shortages by storing vitamins, minerals, and sugars.

Earlier studies found those with NAFLD had lower levels of omega-3s in the liver. Doctors in this review analyzed 18 NAFLD studies that supplemented EPA and DHA in doses ranging from 1,000 mg to more than 3,000 mg per day.

Overall, omega-3 supplements reduced two of the three main liver enzymes that signal liver cell damage and inflammation, and fat levels and fat retained in the liver were both significantly reduced. Body mass index scores improved, and triglycerides, total cholesterol,  and LDL cholesterol levels declined, while levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol, increased.

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