- By Mark Lange, PhD -
Harvard University researchers in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that there are 72,000 - 96,000 preventable deaths each year due to omega-3 deficiency. Now in addition to risk factors such as alcohol use, low fruits and vegetables intake and alcohol use, we can add low omega-3 intake. These findings, based upon mathematical models and 2005 data from the US National Health Center for Health Statistics, emphasize the need for more clinical research in the long term health benefits of omega-3 consumption.
Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids, as the human body cannot produce them. Therefore omega-3 must be obtained from food, such as fish, certain plants and nut oils. Omega-3 fatty acids play important roles in brain function and normal growth and anti-inflammation. Also omega-3 fatty acids help maintain heart health. The benefits of EPA were published in The Lancet in March 2007. This five-year study involved over 18,000 patients with unhealthy cholesterol levels. It was found that the group consuming EPA had superior cardiovascular function and reduced non-fatal coronary events.
Because fats are macronutrients, they are not assigned recommended daily allowances (RDAs). Macronutrients have Acceptable Intake (AI) and for omega-3 it is 1.6 grams/day for men and 1.1 grams/day for women. The Harvard study points toward the need for improving American consumers' awareness about the health benefits of consuming omega-3 fatty acids in their diet and through supplementation.
Dr. Lange has earned a national reputation in the nutraceutical field for Quality Control policies and analytical testing methods and standards. As founder and Science Director for the Institute for Nutraceutical Advancement, Dr. Lange provided scientific and managerial expertise for the entire nutraceutical industry. Presently, Dr. Lange is the Director of Quality Control for nutraMetrix, a member of the Clinical Research Committee, and Guest Faculty of nEI. Dr.Lange received his PhD in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Danaei G, et al, The preventable causes of death in the United States: comparative risk assessment of dietary, lifestyle, and metabolic risk factors. PLoS Med 2009 Apr 28;6(4):e1000058. Epub 2009 Apr 28
Yokoyama M, et al, Effects of eicosapentaenoic acid on major coronary events in hypercholesterolaemic patients (JELIS): a randomised open-label, blinded endpoint analysis. Lancet. 2007 Mar 31;369(9567):1090-8.
Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. September 05, 2002
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