According to research, omega-3 fatty acid blood levels are as good a predictor of any cause of mortality as smoking.
It has been found that levels of omega-3 in the red blood cells known as erythrocytes are very good predictors of the risk of mortality.
This study suggests that higher omega-3 acid levels in the blood, which can be improved with the regular consumption of oily fish, can increase life expectancy by almost 5 years.
As a comparison, being a regular smoker will shave 4.7 years off the average life expectancy, comparable to the gain if having high omega-3 acid levels in the blood.
Data on blood fatty acid levels were analyzed in 2,240 individuals older than 65, who were followed for 11 years on average. The goal was to verify which fatty acids are good mortality predictors, besides factors that are already known.
The study results suggest that 4 kinds of fatty acids, which include omega-3, meet this requirement. It’s of interest that 2 of them are saturated fatty acids, typically linked to cardiovascular risk, but which, in this case, suggest longer life expectancy.
These results could contribute to the personalizing dietary recommendations according to the blood concentrations of the different kinds of fatty acids.