Anyone who has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their diet will live longer, healther and happier, according to a study from Harvard University (Boston, USA).
Omega 3 essential fatty acid cannot be sufficiently produced by the body and hence have to be obtained through diet. A small amount of omega 3 fatty acids can be found in plant oils like flaxseed oil, hemp oil, seabuckthorn seed and berry oils, while EPA and DHA are mainly obtained from marine oils like fish oil, squid oil, algal oil krill oil.
Omega-3 fatty acids are more and more proving to be an elixir of life and health, especially in mature years
From the data collected over 16 years from approximately 2,700 US citizens aged 65 and over, the researchers found that those who had the highest levels of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had longer life expectancy than participants who were in the lower range of omega-3 fatty acids.
There are 3 types of these omega-3 fatty acids, which proved to be particularly beneficial, and they occur in fatty sea fish.
DHA, EPA and DPA play a significant role in reducing the risk of mortality in severe diseases.
Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) have gained certain reputation because they are more commonly associated with fish oil capsules.
However, the Harvard researchers also noticed a third omega-3 fatty acid called Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA). This one is particularly important for support of healthy clotting, healthy inflammation management and blood vessel function. As the scientist have confirmed, the risk of dying from heart disease actually dropped by as much as 35 percent in all participants whose diet was rich in these fatty acids.
The consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can thus make a valuable contribution to the health of older people, in which cardiovascular diseases and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis are reduced. But even in the event of a serious illness, omega-3 fatty acids can help the treatment and recovering process.
Eating fatty sea fish twice a week helps patients with heart disease
What has been also found during research is that DHA can reduce the mortality rate of coronary heart disease by 40 percent. This is especially true for cardiac arrhythmias. With higher levels of DHA, the risk of death has even dropped by 45 percent. Scientists associate DPA with lower mortality from strokes and EPA with lower risk of suffering a fatal heart attack.
According to the research team, these are good reasons to have fatty sea fish on the menu about twice a week or to enrich the diet with omega-3 fatty acids as a nutritional supplement. For prevention of osteoarthritis, for example, the combination of omega-3 fatty acids and chondroitin and glucosamine is recommended.
All the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids - overview and summery
Study: Mozaffarian, Dariush, et al., „Plasma Phospholipid Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Older Adults,“, Annals of Internal Medicine, Epub published ahead of print.