A diet rich in fish oils could extend your life, research shows

Researchers from Norway and France found that elderly people who consume plenty of omega-3 acids, found in oily fish such as salmon, not only performed better in cognitive function tests than those who do not, but also demonstrated greater longevity than those who don’t regularly consume fish.

Norwegian researchers studied 254 frail, elderly patients and measured their dietary intakes of omega-3 fatty acids using plasma phospholipid concentrations of EPA. Patients’ omega-3 consumption was analysed and they were asked to return for further analysis after a period of three years. The results later showed that those tested with the lowest plasma phospholipid EPA levels were approximately 40 per cent more likely to die.

The French researchers observed 1214 healthy participants over a period of four years, 65 of which developed dementia. The results showed that only those with higher blood levels of EPA were linked with the reduced risk (31 per cent) of contracting dementia.

The omega-3 fatty acid EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which occurs naturally in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna, is responsible for a range of health benefits, from combating heart disease to boosting intelligence.
Despite this, most people eat just a fifth of the amount recommended for good health. The fact of the matter is that most people do not consume enough oily fish to reap the benefits of fatty acids, so supplementation with fish oils is a more viable option for many.
Vegepa is a patented formulation of completely natural long-chain omega fatty acids. It contains a unique ratio of ultra-pure EPA (the omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid) and cold-pressed, non-raffinated, virgin evening primrose oil (containing the omega-6 gamma-linolenic acid). As such, Vegepa combines the benefits that both these natural substances bring to the body.

Fatty acids play an important part in the functioning of every living cell in the body. Specifically they may help the body in several ways including: improving the circulatory system, aiding concentration, maintaining a well-balanced state of mind and keeping joints in good condition.

The EPA in Vegepa is derived from fish oil – the highest yielding source of long-chain omega-3 fats. This fatty acid forms a vital part of the diet as it enables the body to produce many substances that are necessary for health and well-being.

The evening primrose oil (EPO) in Vegepa is derived from the cold pressing of evening primrose seeds. When EPO is unprocessed and unrefined it is a rich source of botanical triterpenes hormone-like substances, which play an important role in immune function. Just two capsules daily provide 560 mg EPA and 200 mg organic EPO, and help to reverse fatty acid deficiencies by nourishing the brain’s phospholipids. Vegepa is available from all good health food shops, or online at www.igennus.com

The Alzheimer’s Society provides a national help line on 0845 3000 336 and website www.alzheimers.org.uk.

Omega-3 boosts sight

According to the data pooled from nine previously conducted studies, published in the June issue of Archives of Opthalmology, [i] the most marked benefits relate to more advanced AMD, although increasing one’s intake of omega-3 is associated with a lower risk of both early and late onset of AMD.

AMD is the prime cause of blindness over the age of 55 in the West, according to AMD Alliance International. Its incidence is not insignificant, with 25-30 million people affected worldwide. Scientists are predicting these figures to increase as the unhealthy generation of baby boomers gets older.

AMD is a degenerative disease of the retina, causing loss of central vision which leaves sufferers with only peripheral vision. Early detection is crucial as it can enable effective treatment to be prescribed before the condition worsens.

This recent study is welcome news because it suggests that we can and should take a proactive approach to our health. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids form building blocks in the layer of nerve cells in the retina, therefore playing an important part in maintaining healthy eyesight. According to the lead author of the study, “a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fish, as a proxy for long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake, has therefore been hypothesised as a means to prevent AMD”.

Additionally, the outer photoreceptor (cell segments of the outer retina) are constantly shred in the normal visual cycle and deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids may initiate AMD. The researchers have also highlighted the protective effect of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids against oxygenic, inflammatory and age-associated pathology of the vascular and neural retina, all of which are thought to affect the onset of AMD. All the more reason, we believe, to ensure that your diet is rich in the important bioavailable fatty acids.

[i]: Chong, E.W.-T., Kreis, A.J., Wong, T.Y. ,. Simpson, J.A, Guymer, R.H. “Dietary -3 Fatty Acid and Fish Intake in the Primary Prevention of Age-Related Macular Degeneration – A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” Archives of Ophthalmology, Vol.126:6 pp. 826-833

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