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Omega-3 deficiency shortens life

Omega-3 deficiency shortens life Illustrative photo (Freepik)
Author: Maria Kholina

Two studies have linked the lack of Omega-3 in the body to the risk of premature death, citing the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

What you need to know

Smoking is known to be one of the worst habits for poor health. Not only is it the leading cause of lung cancer worldwide, but it can also increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. However, scientists have found that certain deficiencies in your diet may be even worse than smoking.

The study

A study has shown that a lack of omega-3s in your diet can shorten your life even more than smoking.

Scientists have found that smoking reduces life expectancy by four years, while low levels of fatty acids, which are mainly found in fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, can reduce it by five years.

The researchers used statistical data from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), one of the longest-running studies in the world. The FHS provided unique information on cardiovascular disease risk factors based on eight basic standard risk factors - age, sex, smoking, treatment of hypertension, diabetes, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol.

The researchers reported that measuring fatty acids can predict mortality similarly to standard risk factors.

Co-author Dr. Bill Harris explained that information on the concentration of the four red blood cell fatty acids was as useful as information on lipid levels, blood pressure, smoking, and diabetic status.

Harris said that this speaks to the power of the omega-3 index as a risk factor and should be considered as important as other established risk factors, and perhaps even more so.

It may also be useful for preventing poor health, delaying death, and evaluating treatment approaches. A previous report in 2018, involving 2,500 participants in the Framingham Offspring Cohort, found that people with high omega-3 indexes were 33% less likely to die.

Where Omega-3 can be found

  • Fish and other seafood (especially cold-water oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines)
  • Nuts and seeds (such as flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts)
  • Vegetable oils (such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil).

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be used for medical diagnosis or self-treatment. Our goal is to provide readers with accurate information about symptoms, causes, and methods of detecting diseases. RBС-Ukraine is not responsible for any diagnoses that readers may make based on materials from the resource. We do not recommend self-treatment and advise consulting a doctor in case of any health concerns.