Liver Disease and Fish Oil

by on September 13th, 2010
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Liver disease is a term scientists and medical professional use to describe multiple diseases and disorders isolated within your liver. Typically, these diseases cause a decrease in overall liver functionality, and even though the type of liver disease and its symptoms can vary, the use of fish oil is commonly recommended by natural health practitioners as it has potential for preventing and treating liver disease. However, it is important to note that the use of fish oil for liver disease is not appropriate for everyone, and while initial studies find that this compound can help some other studies have found that fish oil can increase liver complications.

Active Compounds in Fish Oil:

Before delving into the specifics of how fish oil can benefit liver disease patients, I want to discuss the active compounds found in fish oil. According to the Mayo Clinic fish oil supplements contain a high concentration of eicosapentaenoic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3 fatty acids and docosahexaenoic acid.

According to preliminary studies, the aforementioned compounds are known to reduce heart attack risk, lower blood pressure and reduce total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Fish Oil and Liver Disease – Effectiveness:

One of the primary compounds found in fish oil – omega-3 fatty acids – have been noted by researchers as being able to protect your liver due to obesity. Preliminary research studies have found that two compounds of omega-3 fatty acids – protectins and resolvins – protected mice liver from damage due to hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance.

Another study published by the Life Extension Foundation found fish oil significantly reduced liver inflammation caused by cirrhosis of the liver as well as liver disease.

While these studies are promising, the National Institutes of Health reports that the use of fish oil for treating or preventing liver disease is not an effective measure, and could potentially cause severe adverse reactions within this organ.

Fish Oil Dosage:

While you should always talk with your doctor regarding the use and dosage of fish oil for liver disease, the World Health Organization suggests all people should consume 0.3 to 0.5 grams of docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid per day as well as 1.1 grams of alpha-linolenic acid per day.

References Used:

Medline Plus: Liver Disease

Mayo Clinic: Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Life Extension: Cirrhosis and Liver Disease

Medical News Today: How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Protect Against Liver Damage and Insulin Resistance

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