Life Extension Magazine®

Spread of food high in omega-3 linked with lower mortality

In The News: August 2018

Half of cancer deaths are lifestyle-related; higher omega-3 linked to low mortality risk; multivitamins improve neuropathy; astaxanthin inhibits fatigue.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Life Extension Editorial Staff.

Higher Omega-3 Linked to Lower Mortality Risk

Recent research has revealed a lower risk of mortality in association with having a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids.*

William S. Harris and colleagues examined data from 2,500 men and women enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort. Omega-3 levels were determined from blood samples collected when the participants were 66 years of age. The subjects, who were free of cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study, were followed for up to 11.2 years, during which 350 deaths occurred.

In comparison with subjects whose omega-3 values were among the lowest 20% of participants, those whose values were among the top 20% had a 34% lower risk of death from any cause, a 39% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, a 42% lower risk of coronary heart disease and a 55% lower risk of stroke.

Editor’s Note: It’s important to know your omega-3 levels to make sure you are not deficient. Life Extension® offers Omega-3 Index kits that test for a range of fatty acids in your bloodstream. For more information, log on to:


* J Clin Lipido l. 2018 Feb 24.

What you need to know

A large-scale clinical study finds significant reductions in mortality with omega 3 supplementation; Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy is lowered with multivitamin use; New evidence of cancerous damage from environmental factors; Astaxanthin improves mental fatigue.

Multivitamins Lead to Fewer Neuropathy Symptoms

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There’s evidence that consumption of multivitamins is linked to fewer symptoms of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in breast cancer patients.*

“Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) can interfere with daily function and quality of life, and there are no known preventive approaches,” observed Gary R. Zirpoli and colleagues in their recent study.

The study included 1,225 subjects enrolled in a clinical trial in which they received the drug paclitaxel. Questionnaire responses provided information concerning the use of supplements before and at diagnosis. A second questionnaire administered at six months provided information regarding supplement use during treatment.

Multivitamin use prior to breast cancer diagnosis was associated with significantly lower CIPN symptoms, while the use of multivitamin supplements during treatment was associated with a marginal decrease. The researchers recommend prospective randomized trials of vitamin supplementation to confirm their findings.

Editor’s Note: “Multiple studies demonstrate that the majority of cancer patients and survivors use multivitamins and other dietary supplements,” noted Jennifer A. Ligibel, M.D., of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in an accompanying editorial. “A review of 32 studies demonstrated that 64% to 81% of cancer patients and survivors overall, and 67% to 87% of breast cancer patients specifically, used dietary supplements after cancer diagnosis.”


* J Natl Cancer Inst. 2017 Dec 1;109(12).

Nearly Half of Cancer Deaths Caused by Bad Lifestyle Choices

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A study conducted by the American Cancer Society has found that 45% of cancer deaths and 42% of cancer cases in general can be attributed to modifiable risk factors—voluntary behavior such as smoking, excessive sun exposure, poor diet, and alcohol consumption.*

The top three behavioral cancer-death causes break down as follows: Smoking at 29%, overweight and obesity at 6.5%, and alcohol at 4%.

In terms of specific forms of the disease, smoking was to blame for 82% of lung cancers, excess body weight accounted for 60% of uterine cancers and roughly one-third of liver cancers, and alcohol intake led to 25% of liver cancers in men and 12% in women, 17% of colorectal cancers in men and 8% in women, and 16% of breast cancers in women.

Ultraviolet light exposure from either the sun or tanning beds was linked to a whopping 96% of skin cancers in men and 94% in women.

Editor’s Note: Richard Clapp, professor emeritus of environmental health at Boston University, believes this new analysis will be used as a basis to decide how money should be allocated for cancer prevention efforts. He points out, however, that the study does not address the ways in which multiple behaviors, such as smoking and poor diet, might work in combination in cancer cases.


*CA Cancer J Clin. 2018 Jan;68(1):31-54.

Astaxanthin Helps Relieve Fatigue

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A randomized, double-blind crossover study reported in Nutrients found an improvement in the ability to recover from mental fatigue among participants who received the carotenoid astaxanthin plus sesamin, an oxidant-reducing lignan found in sesame seeds.*

The trial included 24 healthy volunteers between the ages of 30 and 60 who received capsules containing a placebo or 3 mg of astaxanthin plus 5 mg of sesamin.

Subjects were instructed to take two capsules daily for four weeks, after which they were assigned to tasks that induced mental and physical fatigue. After a month during which no treatments were administered, the treatments were then switched for a subsequent four-week period.

Better ability to recovery from video monitor-induced mental fatigue was reported by the astaxanthin- and sesamin-supplemented group as compared to the placebo. No adverse effects were observed in association with the treatment.

Editor’s Note: Plasma phosphatidylcholine hydroperoxide, a marker of oxidative stress, which was measured before and after mental and physical tasks, rose in both groups after fatigue-inducing tasks. However, the rate of change was significantly lower among those who received astaxanthin plus sesamin.


* Nutrients. 2018 Feb 28;10(3).