Flaxseed oil in the context of a weight loss program ameliorates fatty liver grade in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized double-blind controlled trial.
Br J Nutr. 2020 Jan 29:1-24. Epub 2020 Jan 29. PMID: 31992372
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids have shown to regulate lipid metabolism and reduce fat accumulation in the liver. This trial investigated the effect of flaxseed oil, as a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid, on fatty liver and cardiometabolic risk factors in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The randomized, double-blind, controlled trial was performed on 68 NAFLD patients who divided into flaxseed (n=34) and sunflower (n=34) oil groups. Patients were given a hypocaloric diet (-500 kcal/d) and 20 g/d of the corresponding oil for 12 weeks. Fatty liver grade, liver enzymes, and cardiometabolic parameters were determined. The intention-to-treat approach was used for data analysis. Fatty liver grade significantly decreased in both groups (-0.68 in flaxseed vs. -0.29 in sunflower, P=0.002). ALT and AST decreased in both groups (P<0.01). Also, significant reduction was observed in blood glucose (P=0.005) and fat mass (P=0.01) of flaxseed and muscle mass (P=0.01) of sunflower group. However, none of these alterations was significantly different between the groups. Weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure significantly decreased in both groups but only weight change was significantly different between groups (P=0.01). Interleukin-6 did not significantly change in either group but showed a significant between-group difference (P=0.03). Overall, the results showed that in the context of a low-calorie diet and moderate physical activity, flaxseed oil may benefit NAFLD patients to improve fatty liver grade, weight, and interleukin-6 compared to sunflower oil.