Omega-3 fatty acids may actually hold a good number of health benefits and have biological impacts that exceed earlier beliefs, and may play a role in preventing fatty liver disease, a new study found.
The research by scientists at Oregon State University and several other institutions, was one of the first of its type to use "metabolomics," an analysis of metabolites that reflect the many biological effects of omega-3 fatty acids on the liver.
It also explored the challenges this organ faces from the "Western diet" that increasingly is linked to liver inflammation, fibrosis, cirrhosis and sometimes liver failure.
Supplements of DHA, used at levels that are sometimes prescribed to reduce blood triglycerides, appeared to have many unanticipated effects. There were observable changes in vitamin and carbohydrate metabolism, protein and amino acid function, as well as lipid metabolism.
Donald Jump, a professor in the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences said they were shocked to find so many biological pathways being affected by omega-3 fatty acids.
"Our metabolomics analysis indicates that the effects of omega-3 fatty acids extend beyond that, and include carbohydrate, amino acid and vitamin metabolism," he added.
The study was published in journal PLOS One.