High intake of fatty acid in nuts, seeds and plant oils linked to lower risk of death

High intake of fatty acid in nuts, seeds and plant oils linked to lower risk of death

A new study confirms the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.

Higher ALA intake was linked to a modestly increased risk of cancer death, but further research is needed to confirm this. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid found in plants such as soybean, almonds, canola and flaxseed.

Some research has linked increased ALA intake to a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease, although other research has been inconclusive.To clear up any doubts, an international team of experts examined 41 papers published between 1991 and 2021 on the effects of ALA on mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. These investigations included roughly 120,000 people aged 18 to 98 who were followed for two to 32 years and adjusted for characteristics like age, weight, smoking, alcohol intake, and physical activity.The researchers observed that a high intake of ALA was related with a 10%, 8%, and 11% decreased risk of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and coronary heart disease, respectively. Less deaths per 10,000 people, 33 fewer deaths from cardiovascular disease, and 23 fewer coronary heart disease deaths.

However, higher ALA intake was linked to a modestly higher risk of cancer mortality, equivalent to 63 more cancer deaths.

One gramme of ALA per day (equal to one tablespoon of canola oil or five ounces of walnut oil) was associated with a 5% reduction in cardiovascular disease mortality. Higher ALA levels were linked to reduced mortality.

Because the studies used an observational design, causality cannot be proved, nor can the researchers rule out other unknown effects or measurement problems of food and nutrient intakes. However, their use of strict research inclusion criteria and thorough review of study quality shows their findings are reliable. Thus, they claim this work adds to the evidence of polyunsaturated fatty acid health benefits.

A more extensive study of ALA's possible health impacts is needed, they say, as well as if specific foods rich in ALA are differentially related with mortality from cancer and other causes.

Despite the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids, caution should be used when recommending intakes because ALA may modestly raise the risk of cancer mortality. More research is needed to validate the higher risk.