Nearly All American Adults Have Deficient Omega-3 Levels
Omega-3s are important for a range of bodily functions. A recent study suggests that despite growing awareness about the importance of omega-3 fatty-acids, nearly all adults in Western countries are omega-3 deficient.
Participants in the study included 200 people who were recruited in April and May of 2016 from the United States and Germany. They ranged in age from teenagers to 80-years-old. The researchers used validated questionnaires to collect information about diet habits and demographics. The questionnaires included questions that were specifically about participants’ knowledge of omega-3s. The researchers also drew blood to determine omega-3 status and recorded the body mass index of every participant.
The researchers found that the participants from both countries fell within the range of healthy BMI. The Americans were more likely than the Germans to be in high cardiovascular disease risk groups, with 40% of Americans falling under that category, compared with 10% of Germans.
Almost all of the participants acknowledged that consuming a healthy diet is important to health. However, only half, or less, of participants believed that they were personally consuming a nutritionally balanced diet. Sixty-nine percent of the Americans and 56% of the Germans believed that a balanced diet could be achieved through diet alone and that nutritional supplements are not necessary. However, 26% of the Germans did believe that nutritional supplements are necessary for a balanced diet, compared with 10% of Americans.
When the researchers examined actual blood levels of omega-3s, they found that the participants from both countries had blood levels that fell below the recommended amount. The optimal Omega-3 Index level is eight. In Germany, the majority of participants fell between 4 and 6.25. In America, the majority of participants fell between 3.25 and 5.75. Only one American participant and two German participants met the optimum level. That means that 98% of the participants did not meet the optimum level of omega-3s.
Researchers from Purdue University and Ludwig Maximilians University led the study. It was published on August 24, 2017, in Nutrients.
Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved mood, improved joint mobility, reducing the risk of age related macular degeneration, 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 people who don’t like fish, consider taking a daily high quality non-fish supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.