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.