Tag Archives: omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked to Improved Strength and Muscle Size in Elderly

Rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, herring, trout, and mackerel

Rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, herring, trout, and mackerel

Admittedly it was a small study but it was randomized and the only intervention applied was for the experimental group to take 1.86 grams of EPA and 1.5 grams of DHA daily for six months. The control group was given corn oil. Study participants were 60–85 years old. The specific form of the fish-derived fatty acids was a proprietary product called Lovaza.

Improved strength during aging should help with maintenance of independent daily activities and prevention of falls. In other words, these fatty acids are anti-aging. I’d like to see the study replicated with more study participants.

I don’t know if the study was paid for by Lovaza’s manufacturer, nor whether that would influence results.

This study supports my recommendation of cold-water fatty fish (great sources of omega-3 fatty acids) in all my diets:

Steve Parker, M.D.

 

Still Taking Fish Oil Supplements? Think Again

Salmon is one the the cold-water fatty fish loaded with omega-3 fatty acids

Salmon is one the the cold-water fatty fish loaded with omega-3 fatty acids

I’ve been sitting on this research report a few years, waiting until I had time to dig into it. That time never came. The full report is free online (thanks, British Medical Journal!). I scanned the full paper to learn that nearly all the studies in this meta-analysis used fish oil supplements, not the cold-water fatty fish the I recommend my patients eat twice a week. If you’re taking fish oil supplements on your doctor’s advice, don’t stop without consulting her.

Here’s the abstract:

Objective: To review systematically the evidence for an effect of long chain and shorter chain omega 3 fatty acids on total mortality, cardiovascular events, and cancer.

Data sources: Electronic databases searched to February 2002; authors contacted and bibliographies of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) checked to locate studies.

Review methods Review of RCTs of omega 3 intake for 3 6 months in adults (with or without risk factors for cardiovascular disease) with data on a relevant outcome. Cohort studies that estimated omega 3 intake and related this to clinical outcome during at least 6 months were also included. Application of inclusion criteria, data extraction, and quality assessments were performed independently in duplicate.

Results: Of 15 159 titles and abstracts assessed, 48 RCTs (36 913 participants) and 41 cohort studies were analysed. The trial results were inconsistent. The pooled estimate showed no strong evidence of reduced risk of total mortality (relative risk 0.87, 95% confidence interval 0.73 to 1.03) or combined cardiovascular events (0.95, 0.82 to 1.12) in participants taking additional omega 3 fats. The few studies at low risk of bias were more consistent, but they showed no effect of omega 3 on total mortality (0.98, 0.70 to 1.36) or cardiovascular events (1.09, 0.87 to 1.37). When data from the subgroup of studies of long chain omega 3 fats were analysed separately, total mortality (0.86, 0.70 to 1.04; 138 events) and cardiovascular events (0.93, 0.79 to 1.11) were not clearly reduced. Neither RCTs nor cohort studies suggested increased risk of cancer with a higher intake of omega 3 (trials: 1.07, 0.88 to 1.30; cohort studies: 1.02, 0.87 to 1.19), but clinically important harm could not be excluded.

Conclusion: Long chain and shorter chain omega 3 fats do not have a clear effect on total mortality, combined cardiovascular events, or cancer.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference: Hooper, Lee et al. Risks and benefits of omega 3 fats for mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: systematic review. BMJ  2006;332:752-760 (1 April), doi:10.1136/bmj.38755.366331.2F (published 24 March 2006).

What’s a Good Plant Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acid?

David Mendosa says the answer is the macadamia nut.

Paleobetic diet

Macadamia nuts

The macadamia nut is that it’s one of the few nuts with a good omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio. In other words, it’s high in omega-3 and low in 6. This may have important cardiovascular health implications. Macadamias are one of the nuts I recommend on my Paleobetic Diet. All of the diets I recommend to my patients include nuts. I just wish macadamias were less expensive.

David writes:

The first Australian macadamia plantation didn’t begin until the 1880s. And not until 1954 with the introduction of mechanised processing did commercial production became viable. Nowadays about 90 percent of the the world’s macadamia nut production comes from Hawaii, where it has become its third most important crop, according to The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition, University of California at Berkeley (1992).

Read the rest, where you’ll learn that macadamia nuts are the highest of all nuts in calories, gram for gram.

Paleobetic diet

Macadamia nuts on the tree

Read This If You Worry About Mercury In Fish

Ughh

Ughh

An article at ScienceDaily suggests concern about mercury poisoning from fish consumption is overblown. Fish didn’t contribute much at all to blood mercury levels in pregnant UK women. Fatty cold-water fish are good source of omega-3 fatty acids that are linked to health of mom and her spawn. But they also contain mercury. A snippet:

Speaking about the findings, the report’s main author, Professor Jean Golding OBE, said:

‘We were pleasantly surprised to find that fish contributes such a small amount (only seven per cent) to blood mercury levels. We have previously found that eating fish during pregnancy has many health benefits for both mother and child. We hope many more women will now consider eating more fish during pregnancy. It is important to stress, however, that pregnant women need a mixed balanced diet. They should include fish with other dietary components that are beneficial including fruit and vegetables.’

High Blood Levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked to Prostate Cancer

…increasing the risk by almost 50%. Click for details.

Higher Blood Levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Protect Against Death

…so how do you raise your omega-3 level?  Eat cold-water fatty fish, as recommended in my Advanced Mediterranean and Ketogenic Mediterranean diets.  A quote from the New York Times Well blog:

The lead author, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said that the most beneficial levels could be achieved by consuming an average of 400 milligrams of omega-3s a day — the equivalent of weekly consumption of about 3.5 ounces of farmed salmon, 5 ounces of anchovies or herring, or 15 to 18 ounces of cod or catfish.

Read the rest.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements Fail to Stall Age-Related Brain Decline

I like fish, but cold whole dead fish leave me cold

Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids does not help prevent age-related cognitive decline or dementia, according to an article at MedPage Today.

The respected Cochrane organization did a meta-analysis of three pertinent studies done in several countries (Holland, UK, and ?).

The investigators leave open the possibility that longer-term studies—over three years—may show some benefit.

I leave you with a quote from the MedPage Today article:

And while cognitive benefits were not demonstrated in this review, Sydenham and colleagues emphasized that consumption of two servings of fish each week, with one being an oily fish such as salmon or sardines, is widely recommended for overall health benefits.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference:
Sydenham E, et al “Omega 3 fatty acid for the prevention of cognitive decline and dementia” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012; DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005379.pub3.