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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Increasing Omega-3 Intake Could Save Lives

By Michael McBurney

Behavioral, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks explain half of global mortality and > one-third of global disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs). A new report in Lancet finds 6 risks or clusters of risks caused more than 5% of DALYs. Dietary risks accounted for 10.4 million deaths and 241.4 million DALYs. Child and maternal nutrition accounted for 1.7 million deaths and 176.9 million DALYs.

Within dietary behavioral risks, in descending rank order, are childhood undernutrition (4), low fruit (10), low whole grains (10), iron deficiency (18), suboptimal breastfeeding (19), low vegetables (20), low nuts and seeds (23), low omega-3 (24), low dietary fiber (25) and vitamin A deficiency (36).

Diets low in fruits (3,413,000), low in whole grains (2,049,000), low in vegetables (1,782,000), childhood undernutrition (1,327,000), low in nuts and seeds (1,195,000), low in seafood omega-3 fatty acids (1,031,000), and low in fiber (1,009,000) were the most devastating contributors to deaths in 2013.

The Lancet report recognizes benefits of consuming 200 to 300 milligrams of seafood omega-3 fatty acids daily. In the US, nearly $4 billion in cumulative net coronary heart disease-attributed cost savings could be achieved in adults 55 years and older between 2013 to 2020 were omega-3 intakes increased. Based on scientific evidence that omega-3 fatty acids can decrease fasting triglyceride concentrations by 20-50%, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are recommended for heart health.

Main Citation

GBD 2013 Risk Factors Collaborators. Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks in 188 countries, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. 2015 Lancet doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00128-2

Other Citations

Frost & Sullivan’s Report – Smart Prevention – Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements.

Fish oil supplements. 2015 JAMA doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.9578

Yurko-Mauro K, Kralovec J, Bailey-Hall E, Smeberg V, Stark JG, Salem N. Similar eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid plasma levels achieved with fish oil and krill oil in a randomized double-blind four-week bioavailability study. 2015 Lipids Health Dis doi: 10.1186/s12944-015-0109-z