Plasma levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6 omega 3) were found to be decreased in 11 patients with alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis depending on the severity of liver damage. I

n this reduction, we found impaired metabolism of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in the cirrhotic liver and poor dietary intake of DHA to involved in the reduction of DHA plasma levels. The deficiency of this fatty acid, which is concentrated in the nervous tissues, may be related to the impaired neural function observed in hepatic encephalopathy of these patients.

Oral DHA supplementation was supplied in the form of a polyunsaturated fatty acid-enriched soft oil capsule (omega 3/omega 6 ratio = 0.91, and P/S ratio = 1.87). Twelve capsules per day (containing 408 mg DHA, which corresponds to one-fourth of the DHA content in a normal daily diet) improved the DHA contents in the plasma phospholipid fractions of 5 alcoholic patients with low DHA levels.