Omega-3s, Red Blood Cell Fatty Acids and Mortality Risks

This research examined whether red blood cell fatty acids could predict all-cause mortality better than current standard risk factors. Mortality was tracked over 11 years among middle- to older-age adults free of cardiovascular disease in the prestigious NIH sponsored Framingham Offspring study. Among standard risk factors, age, gender, smoking status and prevalent diabetes were confirmed as important predictors. Furthermore, of the 26 blood fatty acid measures in this study, 4 added predictive value to these standard risk predictors. The model with the highest prediction concordance did not include blood cholesterol or blood pressure, which are currently accepted standard risk factors. Rather, prediction was best determined by considering age, sex, smoking status, prevalent diabetes and the 4 red blood cell membrane fatty acid measures (including long-chain omega-3’s EPA+DHA expressed as an Omega-3 Index). The latter is particularly important as it can be modified through dietary/supplemental intake. Having the lowest Omega-3 Index level was as risky as being a smoker. Results should be confirmed in differing population groups.

Learn more:  Using an Erythrocyte Fatty Acid Fingerprint to Predict Risk of All-Cause Mortality: the Framingham Offspring Cohort

This work was supported by the IAFNS Dietary Lipids Committee