Omega-3 Fats Increase Longevity in Humans
Source: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2021)
Lifestyle Medicine Update (August 19, 2021)
We’ve all heard that omega-3 fats are good for us, but the large Framingham Offspring Study group has taken this message to the next level regarding longevity and life expectancy. The study showed that higher omega-3 fat levels in the body increase life expectancy by almost 5 years. (1) As the researchers stated, “being a regular smoker takes 4.7 years off your life expectancy (on average), the same as you gain if you have high levels of omega-3 fats in your blood. “(2) The study followed 2,200 people, who were over the age of 65 and were monitored for an average of 11 years. The results showed that individuals with higher amounts of omega-3 fats in the membrane (outer skin) of their red blood cells (erythrocytes) had improved life expectancy outcomes, which means that red blood cell omega-3 fat content is a good mortality risk predictor.
We know that a higher intake of omega-3 fats increases our red blood cell omega-3 fat content over time, such that anyone can increase their red blood cell omega-3 fat index and put themselves in the higher life expectancy category by ingesting more optimal amounts of omega-3 fats daily. Previous studies have shown that higher omega-3 fat nutritional status reduces the risk of sudden death heart attack and the development of arrhythmias. Omega-3 fat supplementation helps to reduce high blood pressure and has been used as a complementary measure to manage premenstrual syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis and improves pregnancy outcomes. Higher omega-3 fat nutritional status is associated with less brain inflammation and risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in various studies.
The 2021 study takes our appreciation of omega-3 fats to a new level, providing substantial evidence that higher omega-3 fat status increases longevity by almost 5 years, as an independent predictor of mortality. From a practical standpoint, eating fish two or three times a week can definitely help increase your omega-3 fat nutritional status, but many experts, including me, suggest also taking an essential fatty acid supplement to help achieve optimal omega-3 fat status. I personally take a supplement each day containing 400 mg each of high-yield fish oil, flaxseed oil, and borage seed oil. Many studies suggest that this combination provides synergistic effects that help prevent and reduce inflammation throughout the body, and support cardiovascular health, brain health, and exert health benefits on other tissues and organs. I normally take 2-3 capsules daily with a meal.
I have included the reference for this study in the text below.
1. Michael I McBurney, Nathan L Tintle, Ramachandran S Vasan, Aleix Sala-Vila, William S Harris. Using an erythrocyte fatty acid fingerprint to predict risk of all-cause mortality: the Framingham Offspring Cohort. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2021; https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqab195/6301120
2.Higher levels of omega-3 acids in the blood increase life expectancy by almost five years. Science Daily July 22, 2021. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210722113004.htm
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.