Study Shows 15+% Increase in Life Expectancy From Age 75 Due to Eating Fish. But What About Fish Supplements?

By studying large groups of people, called “cohorts”, scientists can learn about the positive or negative health effects of choices we might make, such as whether to smoke tobacco or how often to eat fish or red meat. What is “All Cause Mortality”? Why should I care about “All Cause Mortality”? All cause mortality is a measurement concept used in a field of science called epidemiology. All cause mortality allows us to take a global view as opposed to a granular view and look to see how often people in one group died (mortality) compared to people in another group. The resulting scientific knowledge is in the category of “I know it is true but I don’t know all about how it works.”

With this concept of all cause mortality you could try to measure something that likely has no effect on mortality, such as comparing the death rates among a group of Apple Iphone users with the death rate in a cohort of all Android users. Likely there would be no difference in mortality, as neither phone is likely to have either a positive effect or a negative effect on mortality or lifespan.

What about fish? An April 2013 research paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine by a researcher (D. Mozaffarian) at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston looked at fish consumption in a cohort of 2500 people in their 70’s who had no heart disease. The subjects were divided into five cohorts (quintiles) according to how much fish they consumed. Fish consumption was measured by blood circulating levels of 3 types of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) associated with fish eating, rather than by having the subjects self report on fish consumption in questionnaires. Results were established by comparing mortality of fish eaters and fish non eaters, with all the deaths from either group being recorded for 15 years from 1992 to 2008.

The results were significant and useful as they showed that those in the top fifth of fish eaters (ate more fish than the others) were between 17% and 27% less likely to die from any cause (“all cause mortality”) during the 15 years. In the study it did not matter if they died from coronary heart disease, arrhythmia, stroke, ischemic stroke, or myocardial infarction, or any other medical problem. Converted to a life expectancy, the top fish eaters group had two years more of life after age 75 compared to the lowest fish eating cohort. Considering that the life expectancy at age 75 in 1992 was 11.2 years, getting a two year boost over the 15 years after 1992 is an increase of over 15%!

This all cause mortality study shows the positive value of eating fish on life expectancy. So, go eat fish! 

Detailed Effects of Eating Fish on Mortality:

For cause-specific mortality, and using the same adjustment models of the total mortality risk data, total omega-3 PUFAs, and most of the individual levels of the three subtypes, were associated with cause-specific mortality. Total omega-3 PUFAs was associated with:

       35% lower risk from cardiovascular mortality

       40% lower risk from coronary heart disease mortality

       45% lower risk from arrhythmic coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality

       28% lower risk from non-arrhythmic CHD mortality

       40% lower risk from stroke mortality

       28% lower risk from total fatal and nonfatal CHD mortality

       17% lower risk from nonfatal myocardial infarction mortality

       25% lower risk from total fatal and nonfatal stroke mortality

       37% lower risk from Ischemic stroke mortality

Read the full article here.

Fish Oil Supplements Aren't Always as Healthy as They're Advertised to Be

What about fish supplements? A lot of people take them; the New York Times reports that fish oil products represent a $1.2 billion in U.S. sales annually. The Times story reports that LabDoor, a testing facility funded in part by investor Mark Cuban, recently tested the top 30 fish oil supplements. LabDoor found that 6 of the 30 were deficient in that they contained 30% less omega3 fatty acids (PUFA) than as stated on the product package, and 12 were deficient in that they contained 14% less of DHA than as stated on the product package. LabDoor also found that several of the tested fish oils compared favorably to prescription level fish oil, Lovaxa, but at a fraction of the cost. See "What's in Your Fish Supplement?" by Anahad O'Connor, January 23, 2014.

Looks like you can get a lot of PUFA's from not only fish eating but also taking fish oil supplements, but - do your homework. See -

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