Docosahexaenoic acid for the treatment of fatty liver: Randomised controlled trial in children

V. Nobili, A. Alisi, C. Della Corte, P. Risé, C. Galli, C. Agostoni, G. Bedogni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aim: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common liver disease in children. We tested whether dietary supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can decrease liver fat content in children with NAFLD. Methods and results: We performed a randomized controlled trial of DHA supplementation (250mg/day and 500mg/day) vs. placebo in 60 children with NAFLD (20 children per group). The main outcome was the change in liver fat as detected by ultrasonography after 6, 12, 18 and 24 months of treatment. Secondary outcomes were changes in triglycerides, alanine transaminase (ALT), body mass index (BMI) and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA). The odds of more severe versus less severe liver steatosis decreased to the same degree at 6 months in children treated with DHA 250mg/day and DHA 500mg/day vs. placebo and persisted virtually unmodified for 24 months (OR≤0.02, p≤0.05 for all time points). Triglycerides were lower in the DHA groups than in the placebo group at any time point and ALT was lower in these groups from month 12 onwards. HOMA was lower in the DHA 250mg group vs. placebo at months 6 and 12. Conclusion: DHA supplementation improves liver steatosis in children with NAFLD. Doses of 250mg/day and 500mg/day of DHA appear to be equally effective in reducing liver fat content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1066-1070
Number of pages5
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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