Omega-3 fatty acids intakes associated with longer life, study says

Consumption of fish and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may be associated with lower risks of early death, according to a study published recently in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

Prevailing dietary guidelines recommend regular fish consumption. However, the associations of fish and long‐chain omega‐3 polyunsaturated fatty acids intakes with mortality remain unclear.

In the study, 240,729 men and 180,580 women were followed for 16 years. During that time, 54,230 of the male participants and 30,882 of the female participants died. Higher fish and long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intakes were significantly associated with lower total mortality.

Comparing the highest with lowest quintiles of fish intake, men had 9 percent lower total mortality, 10 percent lower cardiovascular disease mortality, 6 percent lower cancer mortality, 20 percent lower respiratory disease mortality, and 37 percent lower chronic liver disease mortality, while women had 8 percent lower total mortality, 10 percent lower cardiovascular disease mortality, and 38 percent lower Alzheimer's disease mortality.

Fried fish consumption was not related to mortality in men, whereas it was associated with increased risks of mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease in women. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake was associated with 15 percent and 18 percent lower cardiovascular disease mortality in men and women, respectively, when comparing the highest and lowest quintiles.

Researchers concluded that consumption of fish and LCn‐3 PUFAs was “robustly associated” with lower mortality from major causes. The findings support current guidelines for fish consumption, while advice on non‐frying preparation methods is needed, the said.