Aerobic Physical Activity and a Low Glycemic Diet Reduce the AA/EPA Ratio in Red Blood Cell Membranes of Patients with NAFLD

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Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs), through the eicosanoids derived from arachidonic acid (AA), are able to modulate the inflammatory processes, whereas omega-3 PUFAs, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), exert anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. An unbalanced AA/EPA ratio in favor of AA leads to the development of different metabolic disorders, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of different diets, alone and in combination with two physical activity programs, on the AA/EPA ratio value in erythrocyte membranes of patients with NAFLD. One hundred forty-two subjects with NAFLD were enrolled in the study and randomized into six treatment groups. AA/EPA ratio was significantly reduced after 90 days of treatment with only a program of aerobic activity. However, it appears that the combination of physical activity and a Low Glycemic Index Mediterranean Diet (LGIMD) was more efficacious in reducing AA/EPA levels, at 45 days of treatment, even if this effect was not maintained over time. The combined effect of diet and physical activity reduced the AA/EPA ratio value improving the score of steatosis. Dietary intake of omega-3 PUFAs, in association with a healthy lifestyle, may be used in the prevention protocols for many chronic diseases, including NAFLD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1299
Number of pages16
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 13 2018


  • Adult
  • Arachidonic Acid/blood
  • Biomarkers/blood
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diet, Mediterranean
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid/blood
  • Erythrocyte Membrane/metabolism
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Glycemic Index
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease/blood
  • Nutritive Value
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


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