Heavy drinking frequently causes liver inflammation and injury, and fatty acids (FAs) involved in pro- and anti-inflammatory responses could play a critical role in these processes. This study evaluated heavy drinking and changes in levels of omega-6 (ω-6, pro-inflammatory) and omega-3 (ω-3, anti-inflammatory) FAs in alcohol dependent (AD) patients who showed no clinical signs of liver injury.
Researchers assigned 114 heavy drinking AD patients recruited from an AD treatment program to one of two groups based on the levels of a specific liver enzyme, alanine aminotransferase -- ALT, elevated levels of which reflect liver injury. The patients were aged 21-65 years and showed no signs of liver injury. Patient group one (34 males, 24 females) had normal levels of ALT and patient group two (40 males, 16 females) had mildly elevated ALT levels.
Results indicated that changes in the ω-3 and ω-6 FA levels and the ω-6:ω-3 ratio reflected a pro-inflammatory shift in patients with elevated ALT -- mild liver injury. At comparable levels of alcohol consumption, women in the study showed greater liver injury than men. The authors speculated that women may be at greater risk of developing alcoholic liver disease than men, even when consuming less alcohol.
Cite This Page: