In a recent study, researchers investigated whether omega-3 fatty acids benefits include lower mortality rates for chronic illnesses.
Fish is a nutritious food high in protein, energy, vitamins and oils. Fish contain the polyunsaturated fatty acids known as omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids can be found mostly in salmon, sardines, herrings and other cold-water fishes. Omega-3 fat can also be found in canola oil, walnut and walnut oil, soybean, kidney beans, green leafy vegetables, seaweed and flax-seeds.
It has been established that consuming the adequate recommended amount of fish supports cardiovascular health and intellectual development, but it is unclear if the consumption of fish rich in omega-3 fats is associated to other chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, researchers investigated the involvement of fish rich in omega-3 fats in total and all-cause-specific mortality.
For the study, the researchers analyzed a total of 421,309 (participants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-AARP Diet and Health Study, which had 16 years of follow-up data. They categorized the type and quantity of fish and recorded the consumption of omega-3 fats.
Fishes rich in omega-3 fats effectively lowers the mortality from diseases
They found that men who consumed more fish had a 9% lower total mortality, 10% lower cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, 6% lower cancer mortality, 20% lower respiratory tract disease mortality and 37% lower chronic liver disease mortality. On the other hand, they found that women had 8% lower total mortality, 10% lower cardiovascular disease mortality, 6% lower cancer mortality and, 38% lower Alzheimers’ disease mortality.
Fried fish consumption was found to be related to CVD and respiratory mortality in women but not in men. The intake of omega-3 fats was also associated with a marked 15% lower cardiovascular disease in men and 18% lower cardiovascular disease in women.
Benefits of omega-3 fats from fish may outweigh potential risks
Although some fish is known to contain heavy metals, the authors note that the omega-3 fatty acids benefits may outweigh the potential risks. The study notes that the benefits of omega-3 fats from fish to overall health cannot be overemphasized, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In conclusion, this research revealed that consumption of fish rich in omega-3 fats are associated with a lower death rate from diverse chronic illnesses and also clamp down on diseases that may result to death in the long run. The authors conclude that omega-3 fatty acids benefits do include lowering the total mortality and all-cause-specific mortality in both men and women.
The authors of the study state that these findings do support current recommendations for fish consumption. However, they do advise against fried fish.
Written by Ijeoma C. Izundu, MBBS
References: Zhang, Y., Zhuang, P., He, W., Chen, J., Wang, W., Freedman, N., Abnet, C., Wang, J. and Jiao, J. (2018). Association of fish and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids intakes with total and cause-specific mortality: prospective analysis of 421,309 individuals. Journal of Internal Medicine.