Boston, MA Older adults who have higher levels of blood omega-3 levelsfatty acids found almost exclusively in fatty fish and seafoodmay be able to lower their overall mortality risk by as much as 27% and their mortality risk from heart disease by about 35%, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the University of Washington. Researchers found 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.
"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," said lead author Dariush Mozaffarian, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at HSPH. "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."
The studythe first to look at how objectively measured blood biomarkers of fish consumption relate to total mortality and specific causes of mortality in a general populationappears online April 1, 2013 in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Previous studies have found that fish, which is rich in protein and heart-healthy fatty acids, reduces the risk of dying from heart disease. But the effect on other causes of death or on total mortality has been unclear. With this new study, the researchers sought to paint a clearer picture by examining biomarkers in the blood of adults not taking fish oil supplements, in order to provide the best assessments of the potential effects of dietary consumption of fish on multiple causes of death.
The researchers 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 National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Participants c
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Harvard School of Public Health