Low dietary omega-3 intake is ranked among the top 10 preventable causes of death, according to a recent study. This study looked at the effects of diet and lifestyle choices, along with certain metabolic disorders such as blood sugar imbalances and hypertension, and attempted to answer the question: “How many deaths could be prevented if better diet and lifestyle choices are made?”
When it came to the omega-3 question, the conclusion was that there are perhaps 100,000 deaths each year due to inadequate omega-3 in the diet. Interestingly, the significance of low dietary omega 3 was found to be similar to other risk factors such as smoking, obesity or physical inactivity, high blood sugars and cholesterol and alcohol use in determining longevity.
While it’s hard to completely isolate the effects of certain dietary nutrients on human health and draw definite conclusions, one thing is clear – consuming more marine-sourced omega-3 is critical to a healthy lifestyle. Another study has linked macular degeneration (the most common cause of blindness in older adults) with a higher risk of heart attack. Could there be a common thread in the underlying mechanism of each of these disease processes? The anti-inflammatory effects of omega 3 in the diet have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, and several studies including the latest AREDS 2 are showing a significant link between increased dietary omega-3 and reduced risk of vision loss from macular degeneration.
Coincidence? Not likely…