Researchers with the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) have found a way to potentially reverse one of the deadly risks associated with intestinal failure in children. Their discovery indicates fish oil may be able to prevent liver disease commonly caused by intestinal failure treatment.
The clinical trial, conducted at the Children’s Discovery and Innovation Institute at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, is heralded as “remarkable” and life-changing for children who may otherwise have a bleak outlook.
Children who have intestinal failure are unable to eat normally . Instead, a cocktail including sugar, proteins, and fat from soybean oil is injected into their body via a tube. Though the soybean oil contains essential fatty acids and calories, it comes with a significant risk—intestinal failure-associated liver disease. This liver disease often requires a liver and/or intestinal transplant. Even then, the five-year post-transplant survival rate is only 50 to 70%.
The UCLA team found that by substituting fish oil for the soybean oil, they could provide a safe alternative without the risk of associated liver disease.
“With this particular study, we set out to determine if a finite period of six months of intravenous fish oil could safely reverse liver damage in these children, and we have had some promising results,” said lead researcher Dr. Kara Calkins. “But because intravenous fish oil is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration and is much more costly than soybean oil, it is typically not covered by insurance. As a result, this oil is considered experimental and is currently available only under special protocols. If it proves safe and effective for patients, we hope it would eventually be available for wider use.”
According to NaturalNews, the children involved with the study were given the fish oil treatment for six months, and then they were compared to children on the conventional soybean oil treatment. After 17 weeks, 80% of the children receiving fish oil experienced a complete recovery from liver disease. This was a dramatic difference from those on the soybean oil treatment. Soybean oil, however, was only 5% effective.
The researchers said not only could soybean oil not help, it could make things worse, actually causing the liver disease.