Researchers at the Fatty Acid Research Institute (FARI) and staff at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centers in Los Angeles and Orange County, California have published the first direct evidence that higher blood omega-3 levels increase the risk of death from COVID-19 can reduce infection. The report was published in the journal Prostaglandins, Leukotriene and Essential Fatty Acids on January 20, 2021.
There are several publications in the medical literature that hypothesize that omega-3 fatty acids should have beneficial effects in patients with COVID-19 infection. However, no peer-reviewed studies have been published to support this hypothesis.
This study included 100 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who had been retained for admission blood samples. Clinical results for these patients were obtained and the blood was analyzed by OmegaQuant Analytics (Sioux Falls, SD) for the omega-3 index (O3I, EPA + DHA levels of the red blood cell membrane). Fourteen of the patients died.
The 100 patients were divided into four quartiles according to their O3I, with 25% of the patients in each quartile. There was one upper quartile death (i.e. 1 death in 25 patients with O3I> 5.7%), with 13 deaths in the remaining patients (i.e. 13 deaths in 75 patients with O3I)
In age- and sex-adjusted regression analyzes, those in the top quartile (O3I> 5.7%) were 75% less likely to die than those in the bottom three quartiles (p = 0.07). In other words, the relative risk of death for people with a lower O3I was about four times higher (
“While this pilot study does not meet the standard statistical significance thresholds, it strongly suggests – along with several pointers about the anti-inflammatory effects of EPA and DHA – that these nutritionally available marine fatty acids may help reduce the risk of adverse outcomes in COVID- 19 patients. Clearly, larger studies are needed to confirm these preliminary results, “said Dr. Arash Asher, the lead author of this study.
Clemens von Schacky, MD (CEO, Omegametrix GmbH, Martinsried, Germany, and not involved in the study) said Dr. Asher, cardiology researcher and co-developer of Dr. Harris from the Omega-3 Index et al. have shown that a low omega-3 index could be a strong predictor of death from COVID-19. While encouraging, their findings clearly need to be repeated. “
Omega-3 expert James H. O’Keefe Jr. (director of preventive cardiology, Mid America Heart Institute of Saint Luke, Kansas City, MO, also not involved in the study) noted, “An excessive inflammatory response, Als Called “cytokine storm,” this is a fundamental mediator for severe COVID-19 illness. Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) have potent anti-inflammatory activities, and this pilot study provides evidence that these fatty acids can dampen the cytokine storm of COVID -19. ”
The FARI research team is currently looking for means to extend these preliminary observations. Individuals and organizations wishing to support this research are encouraged to visit FARI’s donation page.
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About the Fatty Acid Research Institute (FARI)
The Fatty Acid Research Institute (FARI) is a non-profit research and education foundation. FARI was founded to accelerate the discovery of the health effects of fatty acids, particularly the long chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. FARI researchers and scientists will be single-mindedly focused on publishing high quality research studies on the diverse relationships between fatty acid levels and human (and animal) health outcomes. These studies will improve the ability to predict disease risk and, more importantly, suggest ways to reduce risk by changing our diet and / or supplementation regimen.
About the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Cedars-Sinai is a nonprofit academic health organization serving the diverse community in Los Angeles and beyond. Cedars-Sinai is setting new standards for quality and innovation in patient care with groundbreaking medical research, educational programs that define the future of healthcare, and wide-ranging charitable activities.
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