Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Low EPA levels increase mortality risk in older population

The September, 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a Norwegian study which found an increased risk of dying among older hospital patients with low plasma concentrations of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid that is present in relatively high amounts in oily fish.

The study included 254 frail patients with an average age of 82.1 who were admitted to St Olavs Hospital in central Norway. Blood samples were analyzed for numerous factors and phospholipid fatty acid concentrations were measured in plasma. Eicosapentaenoic acid levels were used as a marker for marine fatty acid status. The patients were followed for three years, during which any deaths were recorded.

Participants whose plasma EPA levels were in the top 75 percent of participants averaged nearly half the risk of dying from all causes compared with those whose levels were in the lowest 25 percent. Cardiovascular disease was the major cause of death in both groups, yet was responsible for a greater percentage of deaths among those whose EPA levels were lowest. Other major causes of death included infection, cancer and stroke. Continue Reading

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