12 January - 20 June 2016

Omega-3 may extend lifespan in those aged over 65

10 April 13

Following a recent publication in the Annals of Internal Medicine on the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, a number of newspapers have recently reported that eating fish in old age ‘can extend life’.  However, the study referenced, which was carried out by researchers from Harvard Medical School, the Harvard School of Public Health and Universities of New Mexico and Washington, is of considerable interest as it is one of very few that have objectively measured blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, rather than relying on participants to record what they eat.  The study measured the levels of three fatty acids (DHA, EPA and DPA), as well as total levels of omega-3 fatty acids in blood samples taken from almost 2,700 healthy participants (aged 65 or over) at the commencement of the study in 1992.  Contact was kept with the participants and 16 years later, relationships between the numbers of deaths, cardiovascular disease events and strokes with omega-3 fatty acid levels at the beginning of the study were investigated.  Having blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the top 20% was associated with a 27% reduced risk of death from any cause and a 35% reduction in risk of death from heart disease specifically when compared with having blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the lowest 20%.  In addition, participants with levels in the top 20% lived on average 2.2 years longer than those with lowest 20%.  It should be noted, however, that omega-3 levels were only recorded at the beginning at the study and further research needs to be conducted to determine whether certain omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent cardiovascular disease and prevent mortality more than others.

RSSL's Lipids Laboratory, part of the Investigative Analysis Team has expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling, including the determination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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