Life Extension Magazine®

Food rich in omega-3 benefits in lowering mortality risk

In The News: August 2019

Omega-3 intake lowers mortality risk; intermittent fasting suppresses weight gain; quercetin and dasatinib benefit pulmonary fibrosis; berry metabolite improves IBD; and more.

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

Omega-3 Intake and Lower Risk of Mortality During 16 Years of Follow-Up

A study reported in the Journal of Internal Medicine reveals a lower risk of dying from any cause during a 16-year follow-up period among men and women who had a high intake of fish or omega-3 fatty acids.*

The investigation included 240,729 men and 180,580 women who were National Institutes of Health (NIH) and American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) enrollees in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study between 1995 and 1996. Questionnaires concerning lifestyle and diet were completed by the participants upon enrollment. Through 2011, 54,230 deaths occurred among the men, and 30,882 deaths occurred among the women.

For men whose intake of omega-3 fatty acids placed them among the highest 20%, the risk of mortality from any cause was 11% lower than the risk experienced by men whose intake was among the lowest 20%. Similarly, women who were among the top 20% of omega-3 consumers had a 10% lower risk.

Editor’s Note: When the risk of death from specific diseases was analyzed, men who had the highest intake of omega-3s experienced a 15% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, and for women in the top group, the risk was 18% lower. Greater omega-3 fatty acid intake was significantly associated with a lower risk of mortality due to respiratory disease and Alzheimer’s disease in men and women, and with a lower risk of chronic liver disease and cancer in men.

* J Intern Med. 2018 Oct;284(4):399-417.

Benefits from Quercetin, Dasatinib in Pulmonary Fibrosis

Image of lungs

Results of a pilot study reported in EBioMedicine indicate benefits from the senolytic compounds quercetin and dasatinib in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a progressive disease that causes scarring of the lungs. Senolytics are compounds that target senescent, damaged cells, that resist destruction, and damage the cells that surround them.*

After finding positive results for treatment with the quercetin/dasatinib combination in a mouse model of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, researchers at the University of Texas Health San Antonio proceeded to evaluate the effects of the compounds in 14 older people. These individuals had been diagnosed with mild to moderate cases of the disease.

Participants received the senolytics for three consecutive days weekly, for three weeks. Blood chemistry, assays of senescence-associated proteins secreted by senescent cells, symptoms, and markers of physical function were assessed before and after treatment.

At the end of the trial, most of the participants showed mild improvement in physical function. The authors noted that “although statistically significant and clinically meaningful, [they] need to be verified in larger controlled trials.”

Editor’s Note: “No drug therapies, including the available antifibrotic drugs, have ever been shown to stabilize, let alone improve, an IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis) patient’s six-minute walk distance,” commented coauthor Anoop M. Nambiar, MD. “But in this pilot study of DQ (dasatinib/quercetin), participants’ six-minute walk distance improved an average of 21.5 meters (70.5 feet).”

* EBioMedicine. 2019 Jan 4;40:554–563.

Pomegranate, Berry Metabolite May Help Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Plate of fruit

A report published in Nature Communications suggests a benefit from urolithin A, a metabolite derived from pomegranate and berries, in the prevention and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.* These diseases are characterized by inflammation due to gut leakage of toxins.

In rodent studies, researchers found that administration of urolithin A, or its synthetic analog, protected against and reduced colonic inflammation in acute and chronic colitis.

A series of experiments demonstrated that these molecules decreased gut permeability by increasing the expression of tight junction proteins that are lost in inflammatory bowel disease.

Com­mented co-senior author, Dr. Praveen Vemula, of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine:

“Restoring the gut barrier and reducing the inflammation using a small molecule will provide a better therapeutic output in the treat­ment of IBDs (inflammatory bowel diseases).”

Editor’s Note: “Urolithin A, a major microbial metabolite derived from polyphenolics of berries and pomegranate fruits displays anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and anti-aging activities,” the authors wrote. “Here, we show that urolithin A and its potent synthetic analog significantly enhance gut barrier function and inhibit unwarranted inflammation.”

* Nat Commun . 2019 Jan 9;10(1):89.

Lower Risk of Multiple Sclerosis with Omega-3 Supplements


A study presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 70th Annual Meeting found a lower risk of multiple sclerosis among individuals who consumed daily fish oil supplements, in addition to eating fish one to three times per month, compared to those whose intake was low.*

The study included 1,153 subjects, among whom approximately one-half had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or clinically isolated syndrome (an initial multiple sclerosis episode lasting at least 24 hours). Reported intake of fish was defined as high among those who consumed one to three servings per month plus daily fish oil, or one serving of fish weekly. Low intake was characterized as less than one serving per month and no fish oil supplementation.

High consumption of fish and fish oil was associated with a 45% lower risk of multiple sclerosis or clinically isolated syndrome, in comparison with a low intake.

Editor’s Note: The researchers determined that two of 13 genetic variations in a human gene cluster that regulates fatty acid levels were associated with lower risk of multiple sclerosis.

* American Academy of Neurology’s 70th Annual Meeting. 2018 April 21-27, Los Angeles.

Folate Intake May Need a Boost During Summer Months

Man and woman running

The Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology published findings from researchers in Málaga, Spain of reductions in serum levels of the B vitamin folate in association with higher amounts of ultraviolet light exposure. “We have revealed that cycles repeat annually,” explained coauthor José Aguilera, of the University of Málaga. “The percentage of low values increases in summer.”*

Analysis of 118,831 serum blood samples collected from patients hospitalized in Málaga revealed a decrease in average folate values in all seasons compared to winter. Folate deficiency risk during summer was 37% higher than the risk experienced during winter.

Subjects who had an initial folate measurement obtained during winter followed by a second test during summer were more than three times likelier to show the development of deficiency compared to those whose first test was during summer and second test was in winter.

Editor’s Note: “A change in dietary habits –or the prescription of fortified food or supplements if dietary intervention is not effective– would help prevent folate deficiency,” the authors suggest.

* J Photochem Photobiol B . 2019 Jan;190:66-71.

Life Extension® Study Finds Intermittent Fasting Suppresses Holiday Weight Gain

Man checking waistline

Weight gain during the six-week period between Thanksgiving and New Year is a significant contributor to annual weight gain. If repeated every holiday season, this can result in cumulative weight increases over time. Obesity is a risk factor for numerous chronic diseases and an increased risk of mortality.

Life Extension conducted a study to determine if intermittent fasting could suppress harmful holiday weight gain.*

Published in the Journal of Nutritional Science, this pilot, randomized controlled study including 22 people, was conducted during the 52 days starting just prior to Thanksgiving and ending right after the New Year.

Ten people followed their regular diet and served as the control group, and 12 people participated in the nutrition program (which consisted of cycling between two fasting days followed by five days of their regular diet). The fasting days consisted of 730 calories per day of a balanced shake plus dietary supplements.

At the end of the 52 days, the control group did not experience a significant change in body weight, but they did experience harmful metabolic changes, including an increase in fasting insulin, LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and updated homeostasis model assessment (HOMA2), an indication of lower insulin sensitivity, which is suggestive of greater insulin resistance.

However, the nutritional program group experienced significant weight loss, a 13% increase in beneficial HDL cholesterol, and a 22.8% decrease in triglycerides. There were also significant differences between the two groups in changes in insulin levels, the total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio, and HOMA2.

These findings suggest that intermittent fasting could help prevent weight gain and promote metabolic health during the winter holiday season.

Editor’s Note: Ingredients in the supplements in the nutrition program included EPA and DHA, sesame lignans, olive fruit and leaf extract, plant-based polyphenols, saturated fats, nuts, and olive extract (to mimic the Mediterranean diet), soluble fibers (xylooligosaccharides), Italian Borlotto variety of white kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), saffron, clove bud and maqui berry extracts, curcumin, coenzyme Q10-ubiquinol and shilajit, Gynostemma pentaphyllum extract, and hesperidin.

* J Nutr Sci. 2019 Mar 25;8:e11.