Now a new analysis relying on blood tests and years of clinical exams confirms that higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk for heart disease and death in people over age 65. The blood tests were used to track the levels of three different types of omega-3 in 2,692 randomly selected people, average age 74 at the start of the study, for 14 years. All were generally healthy and without previous heart disease. None used fish oil supplements.
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. While greater amounts may have some additional benefits, he said, “The most bang for the buck is going from zero to some.”
Would omega-3 supplements work just as well as eating fish? “Some previous trials of supplements showed benefits,” Dr. Mozaffarian said. “Some more recent have not. So I think it’s a little uncertain what’s going on.”
In any case, he said, supplements may be the answer for some people: “If you don’t eat fish, take supplements, and if you want to take supplements in addition to eating fish, no harm in doing that.”
Read about this story in the New York Time, Health and Science Section at http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/01/a-new-endorsement-for-fish/?partner=rss&emc=rss
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