In a recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 2692 men and women with an average age of 74 were followed for 16 years.
The members of the study group were generally healthy with no past heart health issues. Over the 16 year period, 1625 members of the study group died. The group that had the highest levels of EPA and DHA fish oils in the blood had 27% increased longevity. This translated to 2.2 extra years after the age of 65.
In another study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, regular doses of fish oils in humans were evaluated for immune support against sunlight.
The lead researcher, Professor Lesley Rhodes, reported that this was the first study of its kind on humans and, although the findings were small, they indicated that fish oils may provide a continuous low level of immune support against solar radiation and possible skin concerns.
In addition to fish oils, there are vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids that should be included in the diet. Vegetable oils are rich in an omega-3 fatty acid called ALA, which needs to convert to DHA and EPA in the body.
However, this conversion is inefficient and unable to deliver the dosages of EPA and DHA that we get from fish oils, indicating that the benefits from vegetable-based omega- 3’s may have a different mechanism.
More research is needed to understand the benefits of vegetable-based omega-3 fatty acids.
Vegetarian Omega-3 Sources
- Flax seeds and flax seed oil
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Certain algae