Eating Fish Could Help Prevent Early Mortality

Incorporating fish and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (LCn-3 PUFAs) in your diet is associated with a decreased risk of mortality from several major causes, according to the results of a recent study.

While many dietary guidelines recommend regular fish consumption, the associations of fish and LCn-3 PUFAs with early mortality are not completely clear.


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For their study, the researchers followed from 240,729 men and 180,580 women from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study for 16 years. A validated NIH Diet History Questionnaire was utilized to assess the participants’ dietary intake.

Overall, 54 230 men and 30 882 women died during follow‐up. Higher fish and LCn-3 PUFA consumption was significantly associated with lower total mortality. When comparing the highest and lowest quintiles of fish intake, men had 9% lower total mortality, 10% lower cardiovascular disease mortality, 6% lower cancer mortality, 20% lower respiratory disease mortality, and 37% lower chronic liver disease mortality, while women had 8% lower total mortality, 10% lower CVD mortality and 38% lower Alzheimer's disease mortality.

Although fried fish was not associated with mortality in men, it was positively associated with mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease in women. LCn‐3 PUFA intake was associated with 15% and 18% lower CVD mortality in men and women across extreme quintiles, respectively.

“Consumption of fish and LCn‐3 PUFAs was robustly associated with lower mortality from major causes. Our findings support current guidelines for fish consumption while advice on non‐frying preparation methods is needed.”

—Michael Potts


Zhang Y, Zhuang P, He W, et al. Association of fish and long‐chain omega‐3 fatty acids intakes with total and cause‐specific mortality: prospective analysis of 421 309 individuals [published online July 17, 2018]. JIM.