Omega-3 and metabolism: DHA may reduce risk of metabolic conditions, study suggests

By Nathan Gray contact

- Last updated on GMT

Omega-3 and metabolism: DHA may reduce risk of metabolic conditions, study suggests
Omega-3 fatty acids, especially in the form of DHA, may be of ‘significant value’ in reducing the risk of metabolic conditions including fatty liver disease, according to new research.

The new metabolomic data, published in PLoS One, suggests that the metabolic effects of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may be even wider than previously considered – finding that supplementation with DHA to be associated with a whole range of ‘unexpected’ metabolic benefits.

Led by Professor Donald Jump of Oregon State University in the US, the study is the first of its type to use metabolomics - an analysis of metabolites that reflect the many biological effects of omega-3 fatty acids on the liver – to explore the effects of omega-3 supplementation.

The team found that supplements of DHA, used at levels that are generally recommended for cardiovascular benefits, had unanticipated benefits on other metabolic systems including vitamin and carbohydrate metabolism, protein and amino acid function, as well as lipid metabolism.

"We were shocked to find so many biological pathways being affected by omega-3 fatty acids,"​ said Jump. "Most studies on these nutrients find effects on lipid metabolism and inflammation.

"Our metabolomics analysis indicates that the effects of omega-3 fatty acids extend beyond that, and include carbohydrate, amino acid and vitamin metabolism.”

Supplementation with DHA was also found to partially or totally prevent metabolic damage through these pathways – which are often linked to the Western diet and excessive consumption of red meat, sugar, saturated fat and processed grains, said the team.

Study details

The metabolomic study was performed in mice using levels of DHA supplementation that would equate to about 2-4 grams per day for an average person.

Based on the team’s previous findings that supplementation with DHA is associated with a reversal of risk factors associated with the Western type diet, Jump and his team used a global non-targeted metabolomic approach to quantify diet-induced changes in hepatic metabolism in the mice after supplementation with DHA.

Livers from mice fed a Western Diet plus olive oil (WD + O) were found to have gene expression features consistent with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), said the team.

In addition a metabolomic analysis of 320 metabolites established that the WD and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplementation “had broad effects on all major metabolic pathways.”

Indeed, the team suggested that the capacity of dietary omega-3 PUFAs to lower hepatic sphingomyelin, saturated fatty acids (SFA), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and omega-6 PUFA as well as lower hepatic nuclear abundance of NFκB, “can explain many of the effects of omega-3 PUFA on NASH-linked inflammation.”

“The EPA and DHA containing diets increased the formation of several oxidized lipids that may be hepatoprotective (epoxy- and/or di-hydroxy-fatty acid derivatives of EPA and DHA),”​ said the team.

Nutritional Lipids and Oils Online Event

Global demand for functional foods and supplements containing healthy lipids and oils continues to soar but can the supply of omega-3, omega-6, omega-7, & omega-9 keep up? And which regions, formats and formulations will drive the sector in coming years?

Nutritional Lipids and Oils online event​, taking place on February 13th, will  bring you consumer and market insights, scientific developments and technical innovations to help you navigate nutritional lipids and oils space.

You can register for this free​ online event by clicking here​.

Source: PLoS One
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083756
“A Metabolomic Analysis of Omega-3 Fatty Acid-Mediated Attenuation of Western Diet-Induced Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis in LDLR-/-​ Mice”
Authors: Christopher M. Depner, Maret G. Traber, Gerd Bobe, Elizabeth Kensicki, Kurt M. Bohren, Ginger Milne, Donald B. Jump

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Gemini Pharmaceuticals Quality Partnership Program

Gemini Pharmaceuticals Quality Partnership Program

Gemini Pharmaceuticals | 09-Oct-2017 | Technical / White Paper

A Brand Owner/Own Label Distributor is 100% responsible for the quality of their products - not the Contract Manufacturing Organization. This is exactly...

Natural, slow-release caffeine by Lipofoods

Natural, slow-release caffeine by Lipofoods

Lipofoods, a Lubrizol Company | 25-Sep-2017 | Data Sheet

Lipofoods presents NEWCAFF™ microcapsules, a natural, slow-release caffeine with a clean non-bitter taste, ideal for sports and nutrition products targeting...

The Modern Athlete, Concepts & Formulations

The Modern Athlete, Concepts & Formulations

Sabinsa Corporation | 05-Sep-2017 | Application Note

Today sports nutrition is one of the most promising sectors of the dietary supplement industry, having shown phenomenal growth in the last few years. Evolved...

Factors That Influence Fish Oil Consumers

Factors That Influence Fish Oil Consumers

Bioriginal | 14-Aug-2017 | Infographic

The benefits of marine based omega-3s are well known, but what do consumers really care about? In our search for answers, we recently surveyed over 2,200...

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more