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