More Research On Fish Oil

This is just going to be a quickie, but I need to get to it before I lose it: New research out of the Harvard School of Public Health finds that,

Older adults who have higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids—found almost exclusively in fatty fish and seafood—may be able to lower their overall mortality risk by as much as 27% and their mortality risk from heart disease by about 35%, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and the University of Washington. (HSPH News)

To be honest, I’m kind of glad to see this. In some of the communities I frequent, there appears to be a backlash against supplementing with fish oil. Sometimes people point to this paper as justification: Long-term intake of fish oil increases oxidative stress and decreases lifespan in senescence-accelerated mice. (Yeah, I know…mouse studies…). Because of this, the new research is a welcomed resource to point to and consider when thinking about supplementation. (I’ll ignore the question of countering a mouse study with an observational study for now… 😛 )

At any rate, the new research is hidden behind a paywall. So you’ll have to get it on your own. For now, however, I’ll leave you with the results from the study:

During 30 829 person-years, 1625 deaths (including 570 cardiovascular deaths), 359 fatal and 371 nonfatal CHD events, and 130 fatal and 276 nonfatal strokes occurred. After adjustment, higher plasma levels of ω3-PUFA biomarkers were associated with lower total mortality, with extreme-quintile hazard ratios of 0.83 for EPA (95% CI, 0.71 to 0.98; P for trend = 0.005), 0.77 for DPA (CI, 0.66 to 0.90; P for trend = 0.008), 0.80 for DHA (CI, 0.67 to 0.94; P for trend = 0.006), and 0.73 for total ω3-PUFAs (CI, 0.61 to 0.86; P for trend < 0.001). Lower risk was largely attributable to fewer cardiovascular than noncardiovascular deaths. Individuals in the highest quintile of phospholipid ω3-PUFA level lived an average of 2.22 more years (CI, 0.75 to 3.13 years) after age 65 years than did those in the lowest quintile.


  1. Higher blood omega-3s associated with lower risk of premature death among older adults, Harvard School of Public Health News, April 2013.
  2. Long-term intake of fish oil increases oxidative stress and decreases lifespan in senescence-accelerated mice, Tsuduki, Honma et al. Nutrition. 2011 Mar;27(3):334-7. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2010.05.017. Epub 2010 Jul 10.
  3. Plasma Phospholipid Long-Chain ω-3 Fatty Acids and Total and Cause-Specific Mortality in Older Adults: A Cohort Study, Mozaffarian, Lemaitre et al. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2 April 2013;158(7):515-525.

4 Responses to “More Research On Fish Oil”

  1. Running the risk of sounding controversial…now I am one for lowering my risk of dying and twigging my Om3/Om6 ratio is a work in progress BUT we must die of something and given the choice I would go for a massive CVD a stroke perhaps in my 70s/80s whilst I am taking that jog or working in the garden.
    Sometimes I smile at these risk calculations..if you get it right you have an almost negative risk of dying on paper but we do know this is not possible.
    “Live well drop dead” as the paleo motto goes…dying well is also important and I am investing in it right now. 😉

    • mjoneill


      That’s a nice way to put it. 😛

      I actually take fish oil to help me live well. Yeah, something is going to take me to the great beyond…but I hope to live as well and joyously as possible until then.


  2. Janknitz

    Isn’t everyone’s ” overall risk of mortality” 100%???

    We’ve all got to go sometime! Reducing risk of cardiovascular death is nice, but I’m not asking for immortality.


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