Docosahexaenoic Acid Supplementation Decreases Liver Fat Content in Children With Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: Double-Blind Randomised Controlled Clinical Trial

Arch Dis Child. 2011 Apr;96(4):350-3. doi: 10.1136/adc.2010.192401. Epub 2011 Jan 12.


Objective: To investigate whether dietary supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) decreases liver fat content in children with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Design, setting and patients: We performed a randomised controlled trial of DHA supplementation (250 and 500 mg/day) versus placebo in 60 children with biopsy-proven NAFLD (20 children per group).

Main outcome measures: The main outcome was the change in liver fat content as detected by ultrasonography after 6 months of treatment. Secondary outcomes were the changes in insulin sensitivity index, alanine transaminase, triglycerides and body mass index after 6 months of treatment.

Results: Blood DHA increased in children supplemented with DHA (0.65%, 95% CI 0.30% to 1.10% for the DHA 250 mg group and 1.15%, 0.87% to 1.43% for the DHA 500 mg group). The odds of more severe versus less severe liver steatosis after treatment was lower in children treated with DHA 250 mg/day (OR = 0.01, 0.002 to 0.11, p <0.001) and DHA 500 mg/day (OR = 0.04, 0.002 to 0.46, p = 0.01) as compared to placebo but there was no difference between the DHA groups (p = 0.4). Insulin sensitivity index increased and triglycerides decreased to a similar degree in both DHA groups as compared to placebo but there was no effect on alanine transaminase and body mass index.

Conclusion: DHA supplementation improves liver steatosis and insulin sensitivity in children with NAFLD.

Trial registration: NCT00885313.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Child
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / blood
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Fatty Liver / drug therapy
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Ultrasonography


  • Triglycerides
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Alanine Transaminase

Associated data