Thursday, July 29, 2021

Big If True: "Higher Levels of Omega-3 in the Blood Increase Life Expectancy by Almost Five Years"

I got interested in the Omega-3's after reading some of the early research on the reduction in post-partum depression in mothers. The TL;dr is that while pregnant the little vampires growing inside mom are sucking her brain for DHA and EPA and that there is weak but positive evidence that increasing mom's intake of the Omega-3's reduces perinatal and post-natal depression.

However is not something to mess with on a massive scale. For one thing the fatty acids are so reactive to oxygen that they can cause liver damage, especially in people with livers somewhere on the fatty-to-NASH-to-cirrhosis liver disease spectrum. Which is why we don't post anything on supplements but do tout salmon.

Be all that as it may be, it turns out that the anti-inflammatory action of the fatty acids may actually be their most important effect on people.

From the

A 1% increase in this substance in the blood is associated with a change in mortality risk similar to that of quitting smoking.

Levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood are as good a predictor of mortality from any cause as smoking, according to a study involving the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), in collaboration with The Fatty Acid Research Institute in the United States and several universities in the United States and Canada. The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, used data from a long-term study group, the Framingham Offspring Cohort, which has been monitoring residents of this Massachusetts town, in the United States, since 1971.

Researchers have found that omega-3 levels in blood erythrocytes (the so-called red blood cells) are very good mortality risk predictors. The study concludes that “Having higher levels of these acids in the blood, as a result of regularly including oily fish in the diet, increases life expectancy by almost five years,” as Dr. Aleix Sala-Vila, a postdoctoral researcher in the IMIM’s Cardiovascular Risk and Nutrition Research Group and author of the study, points out. In contrast, “Being a regular smoker takes 4.7 years off your life expectancy, the same as you gain if you have high levels of omega-3 acids in your blood,” he adds.

2,200 people monitored over eleven years

The study analyzed data on blood fatty acid levels in 2,240 people over the age of 65, who were monitored for an average of eleven years. The aim was to validate which fatty acids function as good predictors of mortality, beyond the already known factors. The results indicate that four types of fatty acids, including omega-3, fulfill this role. It is interesting that two of them are saturated fatty acids, traditionally associated with cardiovascular risk, but which, in this case, indicate longer life expectancy. “This reaffirms what we have been seeing lately,” says Dr. Sala-Vila, “not all saturated fatty acids are necessarily bad.” Indeed, their levels in the blood cannot be modified by diet, as happens with omega-3 fatty acids....


Related at SciTechDaily: 
And from the National Institute's of Health's National Library of Medicine: