Published on July 19, 2017

Could omega-3 consumption lead to a longer life?

Researchers think yes – and the Omega-3 Index Test could be the best predictor for a long, healthy life.

Study Group

Researchers used data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study which included 6,501 women aged 65-80 years old who were studied for 18 years (or until they died), starting in 1996.

A higher Omega-3 Index was associated with several factors including older age, more physical activity, less smoking, lower waist/body mass index, and being non-Hispanic white. The Omega-3 Index was also found to vary by region of the country, generally highest in the Northeast and lowest in the Midwest.


An analysis of Omega-3 Index and total mortality was conducted. The Omega-3 Index was divided into three groups: < 4%, 4-8%, and > 8%, which corresponds to the low, at risk, and optimal levels that are recommended for Omega-3 Index levels.

The median Omega-3 Index was higher in the group of survivors (5.04%) than those who died during the trial (4.92%). This chart summarizes the deaths by Omega-3 Index groups.


O3 Index predicts mortality chart Harris

Chart from paper, Harris et al.


Omega-3 Index is associated with longer life in post-menopausal women. This could provide support for Omega-3 Index of > 8% reduced risk of all-cause mortality.

Omega-3 Index GrassrootsHealth



Red blood cell polyunsaturated fatty acids and mortality in the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study
William S. Harris et al.
Journal of Clinical Lipidology
January 2017
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