Omega 3s Can Save Your Life

Over the years, there have been dozens of studies and thousands of articles written about how eating fish high in Omega 3 fatty acids is good for our health. These studies have shown us how diets high in salmon and herring and even tuna are good for our hearts and lower our risk of dying from heart disease.

But up until now, there haven’t been any studies which conclusively prove that individuals who ate a diet high in Omega 3s actually lived longer and better than the rest of us.

A new study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows us that “older adults who have higher levels of blood omega-3 levels are able to…

  • lower their overall mortality risk by as much as 27%
  • and their mortality risk from heart disease by about 35%

Researchers found that older adults who had the highest blood levels of Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish lived, on average, 2.2 years longer than those with lower levels.

Not only will your doctor be happy with your blood tests and your ECG scans, you will actually live longer…and that is pretty darn cool.

The Science

The researchers examined 16 years of data from about 2,700 U.S. adults aged 65 or older. Participants came from four U.S. communities in North Carolina, California, Maryland, and Pennsylvania; and all were generally healthy at baseline. At baseline and regularly during follow-up, participants had blood drawn, underwent physical examinations and diagnostic testing, and were questioned about their health status, medical history, and lifestyle.

The researchers analyzed the total proportion of blood omega-3 fatty acids, including three specific ones, in participants’ blood samples at baseline. After adjusting for demographic, cardiovascular, lifestyle, and dietary factors, they found that the three fatty acids—both individually and combined—were associated with a significantly lower risk of mortality.

One type in particular—docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA—was most strongly related to lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) death (40% lower risk), especially CHD death due to arrhythmias (electrical disturbances of the heart rhythm) (45% lower risk). Of the other blood fatty acids measured—eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA)—DPA was most strongly associated with lower risk of stroke death, and EPA most strongly linked with lower risk of nonfatal heart attack.

Overall, study participants with the highest levels of all three types of fatty acids had a 27% lower risk of total mortality due to all causes.

And how much fish & Omega 3s do you need to consume to get these amazing life-extending benefits?

  • 400 mg or two servings of fatty fish per week.

But what if you’re worried about high mercury levels found in some fish?

  • Consult this chart and eat fish high in Omega 3s and low in mercury
  • Or buy quality fish oil supplements (my second choice)

fish-omega3-mercury

Reference

6 thoughts on “Omega 3s Can Save Your Life

  1. Lots…some good, some bad…vegetarian sources, fish sources, krill, some flavored, some liquid, some pills, etc…

  2. Great article. I’ve found so many people that know all about omega-3’s (whether they incorporate them into their diet or not) but not too many people are aware that some larger fish sources have high levels of mercury. The graphic is such a great way to illustrate this point.

  3. Flax is the #1 veg source of Omega 3s – http://www.healthhabits.ca/2009/03/31/omega-3s-why-you-need-them-and-how-to-get-them/

    For more info, check out Udo Erasmus – http://udoerasmus.com/products/oil_blend_en.htm – the flax seed guru

    From WIki – Major vegetarian sources of O3FA include algae, hempseeds and hempseed oil, walnuts, flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, olive oil, canola (rapeseed) oil, avocado and chia seeds. However, diets lacking fish, eggs, or generous amounts of sea vegetables (seaweed) generally lack a direct source of long-chain O3FA such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Vegetarian diets may also have a high ratio of O6FA to O3FA, which inhibits the conversion of short-chain fatty acids such as alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA), found in most vegetarian O3FA sources, to EPA and DHA.[1] Short-term supplemental ALA has been shown to increase EPA levels but not DHA levels, suggesting poor conversion of the intermediary EPA to DHA.[48] DHA supplements derived from DHA-rich microalgae are available,[1] and the human body can also convert DHA to EPA.[49]

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