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Eating More Omega 3 Rich Foods May Help Reduce Risk of ALS

Amyotrophic later sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease was in the headlines recently as people posted videos of themselves dumping buckets of water on their heads in order to raise money and awareness about the incurable disease. In research news, a recent Harvard study suggests that eating foods with lots of omega- 3 fatty acids may lower the risk of developing ALS.

ALS is a severe progressive disease that cannot be prevented or cured. The disease attacks the nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscles.

Participants in the study included over one million people who participated in five previously published studies. 995 ALS cases were documented during follow up periods that ranged from nine to 24 years. 

The researchers assessed diet via food frequency questionnaires and found that the median omega-3 fatty acid intake in men ranged from 1.40 to 1.85 grams daily and median omega-6 intake ranged from 11.82 to 15.73 grams daily. For women, the omega-3 intake ranged from 1.14 to 1.43 grams daily and omega-6 intake from 8.94 to 12.01 grams daily. 

After analyzing the data, the researchers found that the 20% of people who consumed the most omega-3 fatty acids were one third less likely to develop ALS when compared with the 20% who consumed the fewest omega-3 fatty acids. 

The study was published on July 14, 2014, in JAMA Neurology.

Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, better moods, and aiding your immune system.

Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in omega-3s. For vegans like the ones in this study or for folks who just don’t like fish, consider taking a daily high quality non-fish supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.


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