Effects of a 1-year dietary intervention with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid-enriched olive oil on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients: a preliminary study

Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2010 Dec;61(8):792-802. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2010.487480. Epub 2010 May 13.


Background and aims: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a worldwide diffuse condition due to alimentary, environment and genetic factors. The aim of our preliminary study was to evaluate the effectiveness of long-term consumption of food enriched with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in patients with NAFLD.

Methods: Eleven patients were enrolled; six (four males, two females) were planned for oral administration of 6.5 ml olive oil enriched with n-3 PUFA for 12 months, while five (four males, one female) were used as controls.

Results: Consumption of olive oil enriched with n-3 PUFA demonstrated a significant improvement of liver echo-texture and of the Doppler Perfusion Index after 12 months (after: 0.19 ± 0.02 vs. pre: 0.15 ± 0.03; P < 0.05), whereas no significant changes were seen at the end of follow-up in controls. Moreover, patients who consumed the olive oil enriched with n-3 PUFA showed a significant amelioration of liver enzymes, and of triglycerides (post: 132.8 ± 63.7 vs. pre: 164.5 ± 85.5 mg/dl; P = 0.04) in a general linear model adjusted for age and gender. Interestingly, patients reported to have a significant increase of adiponectin levels (post: 1,487.9 ± 96.7 vs. pre: 1,143 ± 24.8 μg/ml; P = 0.04).

Conclusion: The results of this preliminary study showed that long-term consumption of olive oil enriched with n-3 PUFA in patients with NAFLD is able to decrease circulating liver enzymes and triglycerides, with a significant improvement of adiponectin levels.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Enzymes / blood
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use*
  • Fatty Liver / blood
  • Fatty Liver / drug therapy*
  • Fatty Liver / enzymology
  • Female
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Humans
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Olive Oil
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plant Oils*
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Adiponectin
  • Dietary Fats
  • Enzymes
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils
  • Triglycerides