A high omega-3 level in the blood could reduce the risk of death from a corona infection. American researchers found this out. Why this fatty acid might have a special role in fighting COVID-19? The facts and everything you need to know about Omega-3!
How can a fatty acid like omega-3 reduce the risk of death from corona and avoid complications? Dietary omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in blood vessels, brain and heart health. The organism cannot produce these fatty acids itself, they have to be supplied through food. Fatty sea fish, seeds, nuts, and oils contain omega-3.
A recent study from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles provides surprising results about the link between a high omega-3 index in the blood and the risk of COVID-19 death.
Corona study: Omega-3 prevents deaths
The research team determined the omega-3 index of 100 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital and observed their disease progression. 75 patients had a low index of less than 5.7%, and 25 affected had a high level of more than 5.7%. By the end of inpatient treatment, 13 patients in the low omega-3 group had died. From the other observation group, only one patient succumbed to COVID-19 infection.
Even though the study was only conducted with a small group of participants, the findings are of great value. Countries with a low average omega-3 index, such as Great Britain, the USA, or Brazil, are particularly hard hit by the corona pandemic. In contrast to countries like South Korea, which have a high omega-3 value.
The scientists suspect the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of action of the components of this fatty acid to be the reason for the effect of the omega-3 index on mortality in a corona infection. These are EPA and DHA, which dissolve inflammation faster and can prevent the dangerous cytokine reaction (cytokine storm) in severe corona infections.
How does omega-3 lower the cytokine storm?
Omega-3 fatty acids are so valuable for the organism that they are not burned for energy. Rather, they are channeled directly into the cell membranes, where they wait to be used. In the event of a severe SARS-CoV-2 infection, the immune system ramps up all defense systems. Messenger substances and free radicals are released to fight the virus.
“If the organism does not release any or not enough anti-inflammatory tissue hormones, the immune system threatens to overshoot,” explains Andreas Jopp, bestselling author and health coach, and adds: “Omega-3 is the key; if there is a deficiency, the body is not able to switch off -Flip switches of the immune system. A cytokine storm can result, which in the worst case can lead to organ failure.”
According to Jopp, the risk of such an excessive immune response is four times higher if the omega-3 index is below 5.7%. A supply of these essential fatty acids is therefore worthwhile.
Supplement omega-3 properly
Omega-3 is not equal to omega-3. Since this essential fatty acid cannot be produced by the body itself and is not stored, it must be supplied regularly.
Most people think they don’t have a deficiency. A blood test can provide information about the omega-3 index. In theory, any doctor can take the value. But according to expert Andreas Jopp, the measurements are usually wrong. The omega-3 must be measured in the red blood cells, only there is a value reliable.
Special laboratories such as Omegametrix, which evaluate all major studies in Europe, also offer such an analysis for private individuals. They measure the so-called HS-Omega-3 Index and reflect the proportion of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in important organs such as the heart. An omega-3 index between 8 and 12% is considered optimal.
Hardly anyone manages to reach this level through food, i.e. through the consumption of high-fat salmon at least twice a week, for example. Taking omega-3 capsules is an alternative, but vegetable oils such as linseed oil are not sufficient. They’re not long enough.
Omega-3 capsules: which ones and how to take them?
Have you ever taken omega-3 capsules? Did you have fishy burps afterward? This is not only gross but a sign of a fake and spoiled product. In a test of 32 products in a New Zealand study, 80% of the products contained rancid oils. Only 3 products were ok.
“Omega-3 is highly perishable and oxidizes quickly. This is also the reason why fish goes bad so quickly. Cheap products come from fish farms with high use of antibiotics and other chemicals. I can only advise against that!” says Andreas Jopp.