A recently published nutrition study set out to answer a bold question; is omega-3 fatty acid intake related to life expectancy? The complexity of answering straight-forward questions about food intake and chronic disease or death is, well…complex.
With multiple variables at play in the determination of how long a human may live, it’s important to keep in mind that factors outside of diet alone do matter. Lifestyle choices such as exercise habits, smoking, drinking, and sleep patterns all play a role in the overall health of an individual. However, diet plays an undeniably massive role in your health and while you work on your non-diet health habits, we’re here to breakdown the latest nutrition data.
First, let’s start with the basics: what are omega-3 fatty acids? There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Alpha-linolenic acid can be found in commonly used plant oils like flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils. Eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid are often found in fish and seafood.1 Omega-3 fatty acids comprise the membranes of cells in your body and, unfortunately, cannot be made by the body on its own. For this reason, we call omega-3 fatty acids essential fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids have multiple health benefits but are best known for their cardiovascular protection. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids are tied to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, blood clots, and inflammation. They are support the lining of the arteries to keep them shiny and smooth (yes, that is a Persona-declared scientific statement). But really, they do!2
The new omega-3 fatty acid study summary published on Science Daily concluded that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood can increase life expectancy by roughly five years. According to the summary, “Researchers have found that omega-3 levels in blood erythrocytes are very good mortality risk predictors. The study used data from a long-term study group … and concludes that, ‘Having higher levels of these acids in the blood, as a result of regularly including oily fish in the diet, increases life expectancy by almost five years.”3
In a nutshell, omega-3 levels found in red blood cells are great predictors of mortality risk. Dr. Aleix Sala-Vila, author of the study, also notes that smoking takes about 4.7 years off life expectancy, which is the gain of life expectancy if your blood contains high levels of omega-3’s.
This new study monitored 2,240 people over the age of 65 for an average of eleven years, which indicates a high-quality study with plenty of data points. Dr. Sala-Vila wants to encourage the population that “it is never too late or too early to make these [dietary] changes”.3
How you can improve your diet
Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet is easy (we really mean it!). The American Heart Association recommends eating oily fish such as salmon, anchovies, or sardines twice per week.3 If salmon, anchovies, or sardines aren’t your thing, here is a list of alternative foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, including vegan options4:
- Omega-3 fortified eggs
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Green leafy vegetables
If you aren’t getting enough omega-3 in your diet, or want to increase your omega-3 intake, try Persona’s Omega 3 supplement. Persona’s Omega 3 contains 500mg of marine oil per easy-to-swallow capsule. For additional inflammation support, Persona also offers Omega 3 w/BioCurc® containing 200mg of curcumin. If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, or have an allergy to fish, try Persona’s Vegan DHA.