Healthy omega levels help support the body in a variety of ways. The brain, including mood, the heart, the inflammation response and dry eyes all benefit from having the correct ratio of omegas. Because our typical Western diet is sorely lacking in omega-3, many of us are out of balance. In these studies, researchers looked at the potential benefits when a person’s omega profile is healthy.
Live Longer with Fish & Omega-3 Fatty Acids
In this large, long-term study, doctors followed 421,309 men and women for 16 years. Compared to those who consumed the least, men and women who consumed the most fish and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to have died from any cause, nor from heart and circulatory diseases in particular. Men were also less likely to have died from cancer, lower respiratory disease, and chronic liver disease, and women were less likely to have died from Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors pointed out they did not find these health benefits for fried fish, but for cooked and fresh fish.
Reference: Journal of Internal Medicine; July, 2018, 12786; Published Online
Better insulin sensitivity
Earlier studies found omega-3 fish oil improves factors in metabolic syndrome and reduces chances for heart and circulatory diseases, but studies on how omega-3s might influence glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity are inconclusive.
Doctors reviewed 17 fish oil studies covering 672 participants over the age of 18 with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome includes factors such as excess fat around the waist, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglyceride levels, and low levels of HDL—the “good” cholesterol—all of which increase chances for developing type 2 diabetes.
While there were no effects in those who already had type 2 diabetes, those with metabolic syndrome who had taken omega-3 fish oil supplements saw a 47 percent increase in insulin sensitivity—meaning the body needed less insulin to metabolize glucose in the bloodstream. The longer people took omega-3s, the greater the increase in insulin sensitivity.
Reference: Lipids in Health and Disease; 2017, Vol. 16, No. 131, Published Online
Better brain blood flow
This is one of the first studies to explore the effects of omega-3s on cognition and brain physiology. In the study, doctors divided 166 participants into low- and high-levels of the omega-3s EPA and DHA. Researchers then scanned 128 regions of each participant’s brain, and everyone completed computerized tests of memory and cognition.
As blood flow to the brain—and levels of omega-3s in the brain—increased, participants did better on tests of cognition and memory. Doctors said the findings revealed a direct link between lower omega-3 levels and reduced brain blood flow to regions important for learning, memory, depression, and dementia.
Reference: Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease; 2017, Vol. 58, No. 4, 1189-99
BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult a healthcare provider before taking a supplement, especially if you take prescription or over-the-counter medications or have a medical condition. For example, omega-3 supplements thin blood.
Article copyright 2019 by Natural Insights for Well Being. Used with permission. All rights reserved.