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People with high omega-3 levels in their body are less likely to die from covid-19

Published on:1 February 2021, 19:20pm IST
Not only are omega-3 fatty acids great for your health, they can also reduce your risk of dying at the hands of covid-19 if this study is to be believed.
ANI
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Omega-3 fatty acids are a boon for your health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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No conversation about good heart health is ever complete without the mention of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats are known to reduce inflammation in the body, thus protecting your blood vessels from damage. Not to mention, they also reduce levels of triglycerides in the body, which are responsible for hardening the arteries.

There is no denying that omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. But did you know, they can also come to your rescue in the case of covid-19?

According to a study, people who have a higher omega-3 index have a lower probability of dying due to covid-19. Researchers with the Fatty Acid Research Institute (FARI) and collaborators at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and in Orange County, CA, published the first direct evidence that higher omega-3 blood levels may reduce the risk for death from covid-19 infection.

The report was published in the journal ‘Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids’.

Covid-19 and omega-3 fatty acids: what’s the link?

There are several papers in medical literature hypothesizing that omega-3 fatty acids should have beneficial effects in patients with covid-19 infection, but up until now there have been no published peer-reviewed studies supporting that hypothesis.

This study included a 100 patients admitted to the hospital with covid-19 for whom admission blood samples had been stored. Clinical outcomes for these patients were obtained and blood was analyzed for the omega-3 Index (O3I, red blood cell membrane EPA DHA levels).

omega-3 fatty acids
omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“While not meeting standard statistical significance thresholds, this pilot study—along with multiple lines of evidence regarding the anti-inflammatory effects of EPA and DHA—strongly suggests that these nutritionally available marine fatty acids may help reduce the risk for adverse outcomes in covid-19 patients. Larger studies are clearly needed to confirm these preliminary findings,” said Arash Asher, MD, the lead author on this study.

The researchers believe that an excessive inflammatory response, referred to as a ‘cytokine storm,’ is a fundamental mediator of severe covid-19 illness. omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) have potent anti-inflammatory activities, and this pilot study provides suggestive evidence that these fatty acids may dampen covid-19’s cytokine storm.