Since the effects of omega-3 were discovered, the medical community has clarified the actions they have on health.
These fats can regularize the levels of triglycerides for long periods, thus helping with the treatment of coronary heart diseases. Many patients with this condition complement their cardiological drugs prescriptions with omega-3.
Today, some authors have amply criticized its use, but several previous extremely valid studies support this intake.
It was discovered too, that omega-3s have a decisive action on the elongation of telomeres, a strong response to counteract anxiety and depression, a and significant impact on painful arthritic phenomena. All these actions are due to their high anti-inflammatory effect. In particular, some works related to the anti-arthritic activity revealed a significant interaction with alpha-linolenic acid of vegetable origin.
A review published in Food Science and Nutrition indicates that the conversion to EPA and DHA, the active omega-3 present directly in fish oils, but not in plants, can vary from 1% to 24 % of the amount used. The combination of vegetable and animal fats is the precise mixture to ensure a strong absorption of useful substances, just as we suggest to our patients. That's why a vegetable omega-3 like Perilla oil is so helpful in treating the arthritic pain.
Therefore, the practical implications on the actions of omega-3s have been gradually upgraded from considered a "magic" drug or supplement to an oily substance with a defined and specific anti-inflammatory capacity. This function can also improve depression, thanks to the control of some inflammatory cytokines.
Today many people talk about inflammation, but it is one thing to hypothesize it, and another thing is to measure it accurately, to then study the food control and supplements strategies.
However, these works lacked an accurate indication of what was the protective action of fish-derived omega-3s, possibly in association with alfa-linolenic acid derived from plants (Perilla and Flax), over time.
The British Medical Journal thus published, in October 2018, two different articles on this topic. The first article studied over 2,600 elderly (average age 74.4 years) for 13 years. It demonstrated that significant presence of omega-3 in blood was correlated with a higher state of well-being. At the beginning of the study, the followed seniors didn't present severe chronic diseases (cardiovascular, lung or kidney disorders, cancer or cognitive dysfunction), whereas, at the end of the survey, these conditions occurred in 89% of the population. Those with higher omega-3 levels had a 20% reduced risk of unhealthy ageing.
The second work, published in the same issue of the BMJ, critically discussed the previous study, specifying that an epidemiological correlation cannot infer causality. These authors considered the fact that a longer life often derives in chronic diseases. They recognized the importance and need for evidence-based studies that will help to improve and extend healthy life spans.
While we wait for further studies to confirm these hypotheses (already highly probable), we can start putting into practice the previously known information: the anti-inflammatory action of fish omega-3 is significant, and the balance with omega-3 derived from plants (Perilla and Flax) is an integral part of the correct absorption of fish fats. Keep in mind that the goal is to improve well-being in later life through a healthy diet.
One gram per day of fish-derived omega-3 accompanied with 500 mg of Perilla oil might be enough to positively enjoy the beneficial effects of both substances, interacting in the best way.