Published on June 29, 2023

Healthy Aging and Omega-3

 As the saying goes – take care of your body, it’s only place you have to live! This is especially true as we age, when our metabolism slows down and our bodies undergo changes that can make us more susceptible to various ailments and conditions[1]. Nutrition plays a crucial role in healthy aging, as it influences various physiological processes in the body. Proper nutrition can help slow down the aging process, prevent chronic diseases, and promote healthy aging[1].

Healthy aging and nutrition
  As we age, our bodies go through many changes, including a decrease in muscle mass, bone density, and metabolism. Our nutritional needs change as well. For example, our bodies require more protein to maintain muscle mass, and more calcium to maintain bone health. Additionally, our bodies may become less efficient at absorbing certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12[2].

  A balanced and healthy diet is crucial for healthy aging. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help prevent chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity[3]. In addition, certain nutrients can help support cognitive function and improve physical function. Among the nutrients that can help promote healthy aging, omega-3 fatty acids stand out due to their numerous health benefits[2][3].

What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

 Omega-3 fatty acids are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids that the body cannot produce on its own and must be obtained through diet[4]. They are found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, as well as in nuts, seeds, and plant oils[5]. Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their health benefits and research suggests that omega-3 help prevent and reduce the risk of various chronic diseases such as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, improve cognitive function[5].
Omega-3 and healthy aging
 One of the key ways that omega-3 fatty acids can promote healthy aging is by supporting brain health. As we age, our brain undergoes several changes that can affect cognitive function, memory, and mood. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve brain function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia[6]. Studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids can improve memory, attention, and processing speed, and may also help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in older adults.

 In addition to supporting brain health, omega-3 fatty acids can also help promote cardiovascular health[7]. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in older adults. Research suggests that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Omega-3 fatty acids research also suggests that supplementation with omega-3 EPA & DHA can help lower blood pressure and reduce triglycerides.[8]

 Research studies suggest Omega-3 fatty acids can also improve joint mobility and reduce the need for pain medication in individuals with Rheumatoid Arthritis, in conjunction with conventional therapy.

 The bottom line? Nutrition plays a crucial role in our health as we age. A balanced and healthy diet can help prevent chronic diseases, support cognitive function, and improve physical function. Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, have been shown to have many health benefits, supporting cognitive function, and improving physical function. Including omega-3 fatty acids in our diet, either through food or supplements, can be a helpful addition to support healthy aging.

 Remember to consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before changing your diet or to determine if omega-3 fatty acids are right for you.
[3] Molfino A, Gioia G, Rossi Fanelli F, Muscaritoli M. The role for dietary omega-3 fatty acids supplementation in older adults. Nutrients. 2014 Oct 3;6(10):4058-73. doi: 10.3390/nu6104058. PMID: 25285409; PMCID: PMC4210907.
[6] Yurko-Mauro K, Alexander DD, Van Elswyk ME (2015) Docosahexaenoic Acid and Adult Memory: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLOS ONE 10(3): e0120391.
[7] Miller PE, Van Elswyk M, Alexander DD. (2014) Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid and blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Hypertens. 27:885-96
[8] Skulas-Ray AC, Wilson PWF, Harris WS, Brinton EA, Kris-Etherton PM, Richter CK, Jacobson TA, Engler MB, Miller M, Robinson JG, Blum CB, Rodriguez-Leyva D, de Ferranti SD, Welty FK; American Heart Association Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; and Council on Clinical Cardiology. Omega-3 Fatty Acids for the Management of Hypertriglyceridemia: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2019 Sep 17;140(12):e673-e691. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000709. Epub 2019 Aug 19. PMID: 31422671.