How Fish Oil Can Help You Live Longer

Research shows that consuming omega-3 fatty acids correlates to longevity.

In This Article

Fish Oil for Longevity

For decades, omega-3 fish oil supplements were touted for their heart and brain health benefits, but mounting research suggests they may extend life as well.

Recent research showed that those who consumed omega-3s from fish oils had a 14% reduction in risk of death from any cause, or all-cause mortality—the gold standard in measuring the effect of an intervention on lifespan.

This meta-analysis combined 23 independent studies and involved more than one million subjects who were evaluated for fish and fish oil consumption. The results suggest that the regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish oil (DHA and EPA), reveal impressive changes in lifespan. All-cause mortality was reduced by 7% for every 0.2 g of omega-3 fatty acids consumed per day. The longevity benefits may be due to the lymphatic-system support that omega-3s provide.

See also How Olive Oil Promotes Autophagy and Longevity

Aging and the Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system plays three integral roles in the body:

  1. It delivers triglyceride fats for baseline energy to the body.
  2. It is the carrier of the immune system.
  3. It is the body’s primary waste removal system.
>>> Learn more about the lymphatic system here

As we age, our lymphatic system becomes less efficient. Here are some of the effects of aging on lymph, according to research:

  1. The accumulation of fat deposits in lymph ducts
  2. Increased number of lymph duct irregularities
  3. Lymph duct wall thickening and fibrosis (scarring)
  4. Decline in lymph wall elasticity
  5. Significant decrease in lymph-collecting vessels in the small intestine in those over age 65
See also 6-Step Plan to Cleanse Your Lymphatic System

The Role of the Mesentery

By now, you may have heard about the newly deemed 79th organ of the body: the mesentery. The mesentery is lymph-concentrated connective tissue that connects our intestines to the wall of our abdomen.

This area may be the body’s most valuable concentration of lymph and source of immunity, as well as the driver of longevity. Studies show that mesentery lymph is particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress as we age.

Age-related breakdown of the mesenteric lymph that lines the intestines can alter the delicate balance of the intestinal epithelium (skin) and the health of the related. These mesenteric lymph tissues are designed to deliver good fats for energy, as well as detox bad fats that are too big for the. As mesenteric lymph breaks down with age, the body’s ability to remove toxic substances and deliver energy can become compromised.

See also Ayurvedic Skin Health 

Fish Oils Boost Lymphatic Flow

One of the top solutions to care for aging lymphatic channels is to feed the body with high-quality, lymph-moving fats.

In a handful of recent studies, omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil (EPA and DHA) showed significant support for healthy lymphatic function.

For example, one research team found that omega-3s were support the removal of toxic substances from the intestinal wall by helping to flush them into the lymphatic channels that drain the intestinal tract–a process that may maintain intestinal health and integrity. Lack of intestinal integrity is directly linked to frustrating health concerns like food intolerances and digestive imbalances.

As the body ages, fewer omega-3 fatty acids are found in the brain. Research now suggests that omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil support healthy lymph circulation in the brain, which may help to explain some of the longevity and cognitive benefits gleaned from fish oil supplementation.

yellow tub full of fish
Photo by Nguyen Linh on Unsplash

Get 3 Times the Benefit Out of Your Fish Oils

After decades of eating processed foods and refined vegetable oils, many Americans have compromised pancreatic and gallbladder function and overall weakened digestive strength. Consequently, many have difficulty breaking down traditional fish oils, requiring them to take massive doses to achieve clinical results.

The good news is that there is now a delivery system for EPA and DHA fish oils that can increase absorption by 300%. This delivery system allows for significantly lower doses and smaller capsules. It uses monoglyceride instead of triglyceride fish oil molecules, which are, by nature, in a readily absorbable form and bypass the body’s normal fat digestion process in the liver and pancreas.

LifeSpa’s Mini Omega 3X Fish Oil Softgels deliver EPA and DHA beneficial fish oils at three times the absorption rate to deliver the omega-3s directly into the bloodstream.

See also The Fish Oil with 300% Greater Absorption

25 thoughts on “How Fish Oil Can Help You Live Longer”

  1. Fish oil’s great and all, but unless it’s very fresh, it’s likely to vitiate the doshas in the blood. Fish oil may give pitta and kapha people a hard time, due to its hotness and wetness, worsening inflammatory conditions and swelling, and leading to dull, oily skin. Fish oils, when fresh, are generally good for pure vata conditions, like dry, cracking joints, but especially nervous and mental disorders (anxiety, neuralgia, memory deficits, etc). Fish oil is very “wet” and hydrating, and has a hot potency, so those with a well-stocked but overburdened liver may experience biliary issues. People with congestive heart problems may be able to benefit from the heating effect fish oil has on the blood, but it depends. Congestive heart conditions with a kapha origin may benefit, but those originating from excess pitta (inflammatory conditions of the bowel or liver, for example, traveling into the blood stream) may worsen or not respond well to fish oil, especially the stuff purchased from a store. Fermented fish oils derange pitta further.

    With the exceptional heat of fish oils, it’s not surprising that their use was greatest in very cold places. That’s one thing to keep in mind while using fish oil supplements; and this is from my experience selling the stuff and watching its effects on people in the past. In warm or hot regions, fish oil is often unsuitable – depending on the person, of course. One might think of it like alcohol, which can be very healthful if consumed correctly and by the right person. But just like alcohol, its overwhelming heat may be upsetting to someone’s condition, and thus would be contraindicated. The only way for any one patient to know themselves would be to give it a try and judge the effects honestly, without buying into marketing hype (which I can promise you, there’s quite a lot of). My tip: if you feel you need the types of fats contained in fish oil, but you can’t handle fish oils straight, consider linseed (flaxseed) or chia, or some other similar plant-derived replacement. These are different, of course, from a scientific perspective, but metaphorically engender similar end effects in the body, with the caveat that whole linseed will be more “heavy” (dense), but drier and less hot, and chia seed will be much cooler than the other two, and more stimulating (thus possibly contraindicated in severe blood-born vata or hyperthyroid, though still great for vata-related IBS and general multi-doshic disorders). You might consider the three like this: fish oil is the “meat” of the omega supplements, linseed/flaxseed is the “dairy,” and chia seed is the cooler, more vegetative version. People who are well-suited to large amounts of meat, particularly organ meats, are generally able to handle fish oil. Those who react well enough to dairy may handle whole linseed just fine (I can’t say for the oil itself). And those who do fine eating cooling, high-fiber vegetables, or rather those who might benefit from more of that type of food, usually react to whole chia seed well. With so many benefits and contraindications from each one, the only way to truly know is to try!

    Last note: beware shelf stable fish oil and flaxseed supplements. I’ve dealt with these supplements a lot, and I don’t generally recommend them. The reason? Most of it is (or should be) rancid by the time it’s being used, because of long gaps between acquisition from fish and consumption by a person, and due to the necessary processing steps used to extract and purify. Rancid oils are sometimes difficult to spot, with the tricks typically used to improve palatability. But know that a rancid oil will invariably affect all three doshas negatively, overburdening the liver, blood, and glandular organs.

    All my personal opinion, but hope this helps someone! 🙂

    Reply
    • Wow, that was exceedingly helpful. It seems to me that this whole discovery of the importance of lymph and it’s link to fat is something that Ayurveda has already considered. Though I don’t know for sure being a novice. There’s so much on ghee and oil and keeping things flowing energetically. What do you think? By the way where did you get your knowledge on Ayurveda from? I’m looking for more ways to learn about It in depth.

      Reply
      • I think the lymph is very important to consider, Dawn, and I think ancient vaidyas (ayurvedic doctors) and the great sages of ancient India have definitely considered lymphatic tissue, either literally or metaphorically. But from my experience, in untouched old ayurveda, the lymphatic system is one of many systems of pores and tunnels and channels in the body that healthful fats help to keep soft and supple – which translates to ease of clearance during congestion. Some old authors believe that the body is composed not of solid tissues with pores and channels, but rather open spaces with walls. Because every tissue is perforated with all sorts of pathways and openings, it’s not a stretch to imagine a healthy body as non-solid – a collaboration of minuscule channels. Fats are used as one of many therapies to keep these channels open to allow proper functioning of the body. This is also a key part of traditional Chinese medical philosophy.

        My knowledge on ayurveda comes from thousands of hours of contemplation on the most basic ayurvedic principles, as taught through re-ordered translations of the ancient texts. This was the traditional way to learn in ancient times, and it’s a constant learning process for a changing world. Old formulas and sayings can be very useful as folk remedies, but the world has changed, and with it so has the effectiveness of many medicines and treatments. The same case is present with Chinese medicine, where schools and teachers divvy out old sayings and recipes, but rarely put a full enough emphasis on the complex basics. Anyway, I won’t go too much into that. Hope this info was useful! 🙂

        Reply
      • Heya Paul. 🙂 If you were asking me, I’d say to look for fats in the most unprocessed forms possible. I think some people can benefit from fat supplements and concentrated fats (ex: oil supplements, “butter oil,” etc), but without a consultation with a knowledgeable doctor who knows your situation, you may very well end up overdoing it or picking a rancid product. Even the highest quality companies generally have to go through multiple suppliers and manufacturers to get their products out, and it’s infeasible for them to be as vigilant as they need to be to assure freshness. Smelling and tasting often isn’t enough to know the difference between a fat product that will help you and a fat product that will work against your health over time.

        I would offer this advice: if your situation allows for it, always buy nuts, seeds, fats, oils, etc from a company that dates their product with a narrow freshness window (say, two or three months, as opposed to 1 year), and always buy it refrigerated or chilled. If this isn’t possible, veer away from extracts and concentrates, and stick to oil/fat sources that won’t go rancid quickly. These are the sources our ancestors valued highly in trade, because they last for a long time and can act as survival food. While there are hundreds of plants that produce suitable omega 3/6 oils, what’s available to us at the store is very limited. Chia seed is my pick for a blind recommendation, as most people tolerate it just fine. Chia is one of those that was highly valued for it preservative abilities; for whatever reason, if kept reasonably dry, it will maintain reasonable oil freshness for a year (maybe two) if kept in whole seed form.

        If you live on or near the coast, fish is an excellent source, but not everyone will tolerate it well. Whole “organ” meats (especially fatty tissues, like brain) work for some people really well, and these days they can be shipped cold to your door.

        Really, it’s all up to personal experimentation, the most important thing being not to get totally stuck with one food or product, and to be honest with how each one affects your body. The only products I generally wouldn’t recommend to others are powerful extractives, especially “shelf-stable” fat products – that is, without guidance from a knowledgeable physician. The exception is for cooking fats, of which certain ones (namely ghee, sesame oil, olive oil, and a few others) remain fresh for extended periods. There are good guides for picking the freshest, most stable culinary oils elsewhere online.

        Hope that helps! 🙂

        Reply
    • Thank you so much!

      FYI: When buying flaxseed or oil, flax oil starts to go rancid as soon as the seeds are ground. Buy whole seeds, refrigerate and grind when needed. Flax oil should be in the refrigerated section and have a freshness date. Fresh oil has a buttery taste, never bitter. If bitter, don’t use!

      Reply
  2. The recommendation for fish oil is bad. The research mentioned on it above is flawed. Professor Brian Peskin researched the 15,000 research articles on fish oil and found that all fish oil is toxic to our body. Simple biochemistry demonstrates that fish oil goes rancid at room temperature spontaneously. All fish oil on the shelf is already spoiled. I encourage everyone including Dr. Douillard to check Prof. Peskin’s findings on his website at brianpeskin.com or search on youtube for his lectures and interviews. You will find this is another example of big business lying to the public about a product for decades.

    Reply
    • Hello Dr. Wolf (and others).

      Thank you for your seeming expertise and generous willingness to share it with others here. I hope you/others who are like-minded will read and respond specifically to my question here:
      You say “the research mentioned on it above” is flawed. Can you provide me with some clarifying scientific evidence showing how/why that specific cited research study itself is faulty? If not, hard not to conclude about the benefits as Dr. Douillard did here.

      This seems pretty convincing to a layperson:
      “Methods and study design: Studies published before March 2017 were identified through electronic searches using PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science database. We included prospective cohort studies that reported relative risks with 95% CI of all-cause mortality for fish and long chain n-3 PUFA consumption. Results were combined using a random effects model.
      Results: Twenty-three prospective cohorts with a total of 1,035,416 participants were included.”
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28802305/
      (Other related research cited below it there too.)

      Are we to assume that all the subjects had access to fish oil that was superior in freshness to what we can get their hands on? If not, I hope you will clarify why the results can’t be trusted.

      Gratefully,
      JdeS

      Reply
  3. Well, all this discussion has certainly put me off fish oil. I don’t tolerate it well anyway. And i have worried it could be rancid. I haven’t eaten beef or pork for decades for spiritual reasons. I do have fish and chicken and eggs but not every day. I sometimes,think I need more protein.

    Reply
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    Reply
  5. Dr Daryl Wolf you are so correct. I practice in Houston and talk to Brian Peskin often since he lives 10 minutes from my office. I have used plant based omega 3/6 essential oils scientifically formulated to be in the exact proportions necessary for human physiology from Your Essential Supplements (I have no interest in the company) for at least 10 years and have gotten exceptional results in patients.

    Reply
  6. Please see (respond?) to my recent question posted today — June 19, 2021 — in reply to Dr. Wolf (and others who may be like-minded) below. I’m concerned it will get lost in the older responses there. Thanks.

    Reply
  7. I’m surprised Dr. Douillard promotes fish oil. Fish Oil is NOT part of Ayurveda.
    I guess it is strictly business related.
    There are many other oils that are equally good, like HEMP Oil, Coconut Oil, Almond Oil, Avocado Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Black Seed Oil…and few others.
    Could Dr. Douillard make a comparison of few of these oils with Fish Oil ?

    Reply
    • HI Zal,
      Though of course we need to be wary of profit motive in general, I appreciate that Dr. Douillard is willing to consider (and provide references for us to consider) research of products that are not strictly in accord with traditional Ayurveda too. Can you share any research showing that the oils you mention are “equally good” in reducing all-cause mortality? If so, I’d appreciate seeing them. I’m concerned we are depleting the seas with our use of fish oil, so if science shows that we could get similar results with other oils, I would like to know too.
      And I do hope that Dr. D. responds to the questions posed in these comments…

      Reply

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