Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

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Abstract

Background:

Clinical trials examining the therapeutic benefit of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs) on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) have reported inconsistent results. We performed a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining the effect of ω-3 PUFA supplementation on NAFLD, and provide substantial evidence on whether ω-3 PUFA supplementation has a favorable effect for treating NAFLD.

Methods:

We searched the PubMed, Cochrane Library, Springer Link, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), Wanfang, and Chinese Scientific and Technological Journal (VIP) databases for RCTs on oral ω-3 PUFA supplementation in patients with NAFLD. The data were pooled; meta-analyses were conducted using random-effect or fixed-effect models.

Results:

Eighteen studies involving 1424 patients were included. We found a significant benefit for ω-3 PUFAs vs control for liver fat, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, γ-glutamyl transferase, triglycerides, insulin resistance, and glucose. However, there was significant interstudy heterogeneity. Subgroup and regression analyses showed no significantly clear methodologic discrepancy. Publication bias and serious adverse events were not detected.

Conclusions:

Our meta-analysis suggests that ω-3 PUFA supplementation may decrease liver fat and hepatic enzyme parameters. However, more large-scale, well-designed RCTs are needed to confirm the effect of ω-3 PUFA supplementation on these parameters.

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