The effects of plant versus marine sources of dietary omega-3 fatty acids on hepatic steatosis and adipose function in fa/fa Zucker rats
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common consequence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) with the least severe form of NAFLD being hepatic steatosis, which is the accumulation of intrahepatic fat. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n3 PUFAs) are fatty acids in our diets commonly found in marine animals (eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]) and certain plants (α-linoleic acid [ALA]). Although past studies have examined the consumption of marine sources or plant sources on hepatic steatosis and MetS parameters, individual n3 PUFA have yet to be compared to each other. Thus fa/fa Zucker rats were provided n3 PUFA diets containing ALA, EPA or DHA for 8 weeks relative to a linoleic acid (LA)-rich n6 PUFA diet provided to fa/fa and lean Zucker rats. Comparisons were to baseline fa/fa Zucker rats. It was shown that DHA prevented the progression of hepatic steatosis and was associated with improvements in insulin resistance.