Scientists have found that omega-3 levels are better predictors of risk for death than serum cholesterol. A study, published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, looked at the value of measuring blood levels of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids to assess an individual’s risk for developing certain diseases. The “Omega-3 Index” (the EPA plus DHA content of red blood cell membranes) was measured in 2500 participants.
The results showed that the risk for death from any cause was reduced by about 33 per cent comparing the lowest Omega-3 Index participants to the highest. The population was 66 years of age at baseline and there were a few more females than males. The study followed these individuals for disease outcomes until about age 73.
Higher Omega-3 Index was associated with a lower risk for total CVD events, total coronary heart disease events, and total strokes. When baseline serum cholesterol levels were substituted for the Omega-3 Index, cholesterol was not significantly associated with any of the tracked outcomes whereas omega-3s were related to 4 of the 5 outcomes assessed,” Harris said.