Health In Focus
  • High levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in the blood can lower the risk of all-cause mortality in postmenopausal women, finds a new study.
  • About one gram of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) per day can increase Omega-3 levels.
  • Fish, fish oil, dairy products, and eggs are the common sources of EPA and DHA.

The higher levels of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the red blood cells were associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality in postmenopausal women, finds a new study.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Associated with Lower Mortality Rate

In the study, the scientists examined the associations with Omega-3 index, which is a significant predictor of all-cause mortality. The levels of EPA and DHA were examined in red blood cells.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids can Help Lower the Risk of Death

The research team analyzed data from more than 6,500 women between the ages of 65-80, who participated in the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study, which began in 1996.

The participants PUFA levels were first recorded at the beginning of the study in 1996. The health outcomes of the participants were tracked and measured through August 2014. However, the primary outcome was to track the all-cause mortality.

After a follow-up period of 14.9 years, about 28.5 percent of the women had passed away. A variety of lifestyle and other factors such as smoking, physical activity and history of cardiovascular disease were analyzed.

Dr. William Harris, the lead author of the study and founder of OmegaQuant Analytics, said,

"This is the largest -but far from the only - study to confirm that blood levels of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, in this case, the omega-3 index, are independent predictors of risk for death."

"These findings support the view that higher EPA and DHA omega-3 levels are associated with better overall health."

The lowest level of Omega-3 fatty acid was 3.6 percent, and the highest level was 7.1 percent. Women with the highest levels of Omega-3 fatty acids were 20% less likely to die from any cause than those in the lowest level.

The authors estimated that approximately one gram of EPA and DHA per day were required to increase omega-3 status.

"This study adds to a larger body of evidence demonstrating the positive correlation between higher omega-3 index levels and general wellness," said Adam Ismail, Executive Director of the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED).

"The results gathered over a 15-year period support the notion that adequate Omega-3 intake is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, just like exercise and following a well-balanced diet."

A study conducted by Murphy et al found that the Omega-3 levels of more than 80 percent of Americans were below the Omega-3 index observed in the highest quartile in the current study. Other studies have also found that significant reductions in mortality risk were associated with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that play a vital role in growth and development. EPA and DHA Omega-3s are found in fish, fish oil, eggs, and dairy products. The levels of Omega-3 fatty acids can be increased by consuming salmon, tuna, and sardines.

One gram of omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained by consuming two and a half to three salmon fillets per week, according to the USDA Nutrient Database. Omega-3 supplements such as soft gels (1-3) or liquid omega-3 supplement (1 teaspoon) can provide the daily recommended intake.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, albacore tuna, lake trout, and herring ) at least two times a week.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) up to 3grams of EPA and DHA is generally recognized as safe (GRAS). In the current study, the higher level than 1 gram per day is estimated as a requirement to move from the lowest to the highest level of omega-3 status. However, it is wise to consult a physician or dietitian before taking supplements. It is also important to test the levels of Omega-3 fatty acids before modifying the diet.

Reference :
  1. William S. Harris, Juhua Luo James V. Pottala, Mark A. Espeland, Karen L. Margolis, Joann E. Manson, Lu Wang,Theodore M. Brasky, Jennifer G. Robinson. Red blood cell polyunsaturated fatty acids and mortality in the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (2017). DOI:
  3. Omega-3 fatty acids - ( )

Source: Medindia

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