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Higher red blood cell omega 3 levels in women linked to lower risk of mortality over 14.9 year median follow-up

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

February 22 2017. A study published on January 12, 2017 in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology revealed a lower risk of death among women with higher red blood cell omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acid levels over a 14.9 year median follow up period.

The research included 6,501 women who enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study beginning in 1996. Red blood cell polyunsaturated fatty acid levels, which included the omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and their sum (the Omega 3 index) were measured upon enrollment. The women were followed through August 2014, during which time there were 1,851 deaths.

Women whose omega 3 levels were among the top 25% of subjects had a 20% lower risk of dying from any cause over follow-up compared with those whose levels were among the lowest 25%. Authors William S. Harris and colleagues estimated that an intake of approximately 1 gram EPA and DHA daily would be needed to increase omega 3 levels from the lowest to the highest 25%, an amount obtainable by consuming 1-3 softgels of an omega 3 supplement.

“This is the largest–but far from the only–study to confirm that blood levels of EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids, in this case the omega 3 index, are independent predictors of risk for death,” Dr. Harris stated. “These findings support the view that higher EPA and DHA omega 3 levels are associated with better overall health.”

Adam Ismail, who is the Executive Director of the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s, commented that “The results gathered over a 15-year period support the notion that adequate omega 3 intake is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, just like exercise and following a well-balanced diet.”

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