Clinical Edge

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Omega 3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids & Healthy Aging

BMJ; ePub 2018 Oct 17; Lai, Otto, et al

Increased daily consumption of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n3-PUFAs) from seafood is associated with a higher likelihood of healthy aging, according to a new study. The prospective cohort study included 2,622 adults with a mean age of 74.4 years from 4 communities in the US and with successful healthy aging at baseline in 1992-1993. Cumulative levels of plasma phospholipid n3-PUFAs were measured in 1992-1993, 1998-1999, and 2005-2006, expressed as percentage of total fatty acids, including α-linolenic acid from plants and eicosapentaenoic acid, docosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid from seafood. Healthy aging was defined as survival without chronic diseases, the absence of cognitive and physical dysfunction, or death from other causes not part of the healthy aging outcome after age 65. Among the findings:

  • Higher levels of serially measured circulating n3-PUFAs from seafood were associated with a lower risk of unhealthy aging after multivariable adjustments.
  • Increased dietary consumption of n3-PUFAs in older adults is recommended.


Lai HTM, Otto MC, Lemaitre RN, et al. Serial circulating omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and healthy ageing among older adults in the Cardiovascular Health Study: Prospective cohort study. [Published online ahead of print October 17, 2018]. BMJ. doi:10.1136/bmj.k4067.