Higher blood levels of omega 3 fatty acids found in seafood are associated with a higher likelihood of healthy ageing among older adults, finds a US study published by The BMJ today. The study involved 2,622 adults who were taking part in the US Cardiovascular Health study from 1992 to 2015. Average age of participants at the start of the study (baseline) was 74 years, 63% were women and 11% were from non-white groups. Blood levels of omega-3s were measured at baseline, 6, and 13 years. Through review of medical records and diagnostic tests, the researchers found that 89% of the participants experienced unhealthy ageing over the study period, while 11% experienced healthy ageing – defined as survival free of major chronic diseases and without mental or physical dysfunction.
After taking account of a range of other social, economic, and lifestyle factors, the researchers found that levels of seafood-derived EPA in the highest quintile were associated with a 24% lower risk of unhealthy ageing than levels in the lowest quintile. A possible explanation for this effect is that n-3 PUFAs help to regulate blood pressure, heart rate and inflammation, explain the authors. As such, they say that, among older adults, higher levels of circulating n-3 PUFAs from seafood were associated with a lower risk of unhealthy ageing.