By Mary Jane Thomas
Daily Press Dot Com
A new study published this week in the United States shows that people older than 65 who eat fish will live on average two years longer than people who do not eat fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers found that people with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids were also at a lower risk of dying by 27%, and their risk of dying from a heart disease was 35% lower than the people who had low levels of these fatty acids. The study was conducted by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the scientific journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
Although other earlier studies have shown a link between omega-3 fatty acids and the reduced risk of heart disease, this study analyzed existing data on older people to determine whether there is any connection between fish consumption and the risk of death.
Scientists have analyzed 16 years of data collected from 2,700 American adults over 65. The participants to the study did not eat fish oil supplements to eliminate the confusion caused by differences between omega-3 fatty acids from dietary supplements and those from fish.
People who had the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the body, from sources such as salmon, tuna, halibut, herring and mackerel, had the lowest risk of dying from any cause, living an average of 2,2 years longer than those who had the lowest level of these fatty acids.
Researchers have identified a strong link between the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and a reduced risk of dying from a heart problem. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EHA) show a strong connection with a lower risk of non-fatal heart attack and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) was associated with a lower risk of dying from a stroke.
The positive results were the same even after the researchers adjusted the data to take into account demographic factors, lifestyle and diet.
“Our findings support the importance of adequate blood omega-3 levels for cardiovascular health, and suggest that later in life these benefits could actually extend the years of remaining life,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, lead author of the study and associate professor at the Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health.
“The findings suggest that the biggest bang-for-your-buck is for going from no intake to modest intake, or about two servings of fatty fish per week,” concluded Mozaffarian.