High consumption of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids may reduce serious illness by as much as 27%, according to new research.
The research, published in JAMAs Annals of Internal Medicine, is the first to investigate how objectively measured blood biomarkers of omega-3 consumption relate to total mortality and specific causes of mortality in a general population. Led by Dr Dariush Mozaffarian from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), the team reported that older adults who had the highest blood levels of the fatty acids found in fish lived, on average, 2.2 years longer than those with lower levels (the highest levels may be able to lower their overall mortality risk by as much as 27%) and may have up to a 35% reduction in mortality risk from heart disease.
“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 Mozaffarian. “Although eating fish has long been considered part of a healthy diet, few studies have assessed blood omega-3 levels and total deaths in older adults,” he added. “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.”
The research team examined 16 years of data from about 2,700 U.S. adults aged 65 or older who participated in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) – a long-term study supported by the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Mozaffarian and his colleagues analyzed the total proportion of blood omega-3 fatty acids (including DHA, EPA and DPA) in participants’ blood samples, finding that the three fatty acids were associated with a significantly lower risk of mortality.
In particular, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) was most strongly related to lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) death (40% lower risk), especially CHD death due to arrhythmias (electrical disturbances of the heart rhythm) (45% lower risk), the team noted.
Of the other fatty acids measured—eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA)—DPA was most strongly associated with lower risk of stroke death, and EPA most strongly linked with lower risk of nonfatal heart attack.
Overall, study participants with the highest levels of all three types of fatty acids had a 27% lower risk of total mortality due to all causes.
Potential Health Benefits of Omega Fatty-Acid Supplementation for Obese Adolescents
POLYUNSATURATED FATTY ACIDS, ADOLESCENT OBESITY, TRIGLYCERIDES, HYPOXIA – Omega-3 Fatty Acids
“The consumption of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids differentially modulates gene expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha and gamma and hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha in subcutaneous adipose tissue of obese adolescents,” Mejía-Barradas CM, Del-Río-Navarro BE, et al, Endocrine, April 2, 2013; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Escuela Superior de Medicina, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Plan de San Luis and Salvador Díaz Mirón, Col. Santo Tomás, Mexico, P.O. Box 11340, Mexico).
A twelve-week study of twenty-six obese adolescents (aged 12-14 years) evaluated the effect of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (omega-3 PUFA) supplementation on metabolic state and gene expression in subcutaneous adipose tissues. Subjects received a food supplement five times per day, consisting of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (3 g per day, 944 mg EPA, and 2,088 mg DHA). After 12 weeks, omega-3 PUFA consumption was associated with decreased body mass index, waist circumference, hip circumference, and blood triglyceride levels. Supplementation was associated with a downregulated expression of the genes encoding PPAR [gamma] and PGC-1[alpha] and an upregulated expression of the genes encoding PPAR [alpha]. The expressions of SOD2, CAT, GPX3, and HIF-1[alpha] protein also decreased. Researchers concluded that omega-3 PUFA consumption and dietary restriction improved the anthropometric parameters and decreased the triglycerides level s of the adolescents, suggesting a reduction in hypoxia in subcutaneous adipose tissue.
Vitamin B Complex Linked to Improved Mood and Mental Health for Depressed Adults
DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, MENTAL ILLNESS, NUTRITION, NUTRIENT SUPPLEMENTATION – Vitamin B, Vitamin B complex
“The effect of methylated vitamin B complex on depressive and anxiety symptoms and quality of life in adults with depression,” Lewis JE, Tiozzo E, et al, ISRN Psychiatry; 2013 Jan 21; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33136, USA).
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 60 adults diagnosed with depressive disorders, supplementation with vitamin B complex (Max Stress B) was found to generate significant and more continuous improvements in depressive and anxiety symptoms, than a placebo. The study also showed significant improvement on the mental health scale of the SF-36 among subjects who took the vitamin B-complex supplement, as compared to those who took a placebo. These results support the role of vitamin B-complex in treating patients with anxiety and/or depression.