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N-3 fatty acids increase chance of successful aging

If you consume enough n-3 fatty acids through your diet, and perhaps also through supplements, you increase the chance that you will reach a respectable age and at the same time remain free of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. This is shown by an epidemiological study published by researchers at Tufts University in BMJ.

The researchers used data from 2,622 adults who had participated in the US Cardiovascular Health Study in the period 1992-2015. When that study started, the average participants was 74 years. All participants were healthy. During the study, the researchers determined at several moments how much of the n-3 fatty acids ALA, EPA, DPA and DHA the study participants had in their blood.

During the study the researchers determined whether the study participants died or developed a chronic disease, such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and kidney and lung diseases. Those who grow old without developing a chronic condition were considered to age successfully.

Omega-3 fatty acids increase chance of successful aging

During the study, 11 percent of the study participants aged successfully. The concentration of the vegetable n-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid in the participants' blood of the study had no influence on whether or not they aged successfully.

What was relevant, was the concentration of the fish-derived n-3 fatty acids EPA [reduced the chance of unsuccessful aging by a quarter], DHA [reduced the chance of unsuccessful aging by 18 percent] and the total concentration of EPA, DPA and DHA [reduced the chance of unsuccessful aging by 18 percent].

Omega-3 fatty acids increase chance of successful aging

"These findings encourage the need for further investigations into plausible biological mechanisms and interventions related to n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for the maintenance of healthy ageing, and to support guidelines for increased dietary consumption of fish in older adults", the researchers summarize.

BMJ 2018;363:k4067.

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