By Matt Hall — Staff Writer
A new study from researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) could potentially be an incredible breakthrough in the treatment of liver disease in children with intestinal failure. According to the findings, intravenous injections of fish oil can completely reverse liver disease. This has numerous positive implications, including eliminating the need for liver transplants and other similar medical treatments.
The study, entitled “Six Months of Intravenous Fish Oil Reverses Pediatric Intestinal Failure Associated Liver Disease,” studied a group of children ranging in age from two weeks to 18 years old. Each child in this study had been diagnosed with advanced intestinal failure-associated liver disease. As this disease usually ends in early death, the findings of the study are particularly encouraging.
For six months, these children were treated with intravenous fish oil. When compared to a control group of children who had the disease but receive conventional treatment, the fish oil group performed incredibly. 80 percent of the children in the fish oil group completely recovered from their liver disease after only 17 weeks! In the control group (who were treated with soybean oil), only 5% experienced a recovery.
While a five-year followup to this study still needs to be completed before it can become a standard treatment for this type of liver disease, these results make this treatment incredibly promising.
Fish Oil Safer than Soybean Oil
One of the top chemically altered foods to avoid, soybean oil often comes from GMO soybeans. Soy lecithin — a byproduct created during soybean processing — can cause gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea, changes in weight (loss and gain), appetite loss, rashes, nausea, confusion, low blood pressure, and blurred vision, among others. Using fish oil for treatment means the side effects of fish oil are avoided, allowing patients to be healthier during treatment.
Many Other Benefits of Fish Oil
Curing liver disease is just another of the potential benefits fish oil can provide those who take it daily. Other benefits of fish oil include:
Weight loss. Researchers at the University of South Australia have shown that fish oil makes exercise much more effective, allowing the body to burn more fat and lose more weight.
Improved cardiovascular health. The American Heart Association has long supported omega-3 as an effective way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Fish oil also helps to balance cholesterol levels, helping make sure the ratio between LDL and HDL cholesterol is where it should be.
Immune boost. It’s been long believed that fish oil helps to boost the immune system and protect from disease, and now research is showing this may be more than a folk remedy. One study indicated fish oil improved the immunity of pigs, which are often a good indicator of how a substance will affect humans.
Inflammatory disorders. From irritable bowel syndrome to Crohn’s disease to other inflammatory disorders (including arthritis), fish oil can help reduce inflammation and lessen the effects of these diseases. Since patients suffering from these disorders often have difficulty absorbing fats, vitamins and other essential supplements, taking fish oil helps make sure the body has enough of these fatty acids to function properly.
Depression, anxiety and depression. Omega-3 helps to regulate mood and ensure proper brain function. While the treatment is still untested, studies have shown decreased incidences of depression where fish is a main diet staple. This is promising for fish oil as a treatment for these disorders.
There are many, many other disorders which can be treated with fish oil, a comprehensive list of which can be seen here.