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X Fact
May 19, 2021
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The Target Omega-3 Index Number is...

The X Fact What is the omega-3 index? reported on a paper we published on April 22nd, 2021 that after following 42,000 people for 16 years, we showed that individuals with the highest EPA and DHA levels compared to the lowest levels measured, had a 13% lower risk for death from all causes during the follow up period.

Furthermore, when we looked at three major causes of death – cardiovascular disease, cancer and all other causes combined – we found statistically significant risk reductions (again comparing the 90th vs 10th percentile) of 15%, 11%, and 13%, respectively. The range between the 10th and 90th percentile for EPA+DHA was (in terms of red blood cell membrane omega-3 levels, i.e., the Omega-3 Index) about 3.5% to 7.6%. From other research we find that an optimal Omega-3 Index is 8% or higher. So the Omega-3 Index is an important predictor of risk for what is obviously the worst “health” outcome – death.

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Who Wrote This X Fact
William S. Harris PhD FAHA
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William Harris holds a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota. Since 1980, his research has focused on omega-3 fatty acids and human lipid metabolism, platelet function, cardiovascular and neurocognitive disease. He has been on the medical faculties of Kansas University, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and is currently at the University of South Dakota. He has been the principal investigator on 5 omega-3 related NIH grants and has published over 300 omega-3-related papers. Dr. Harris was a co-author on 3 American Heart Association Advisory Statements on fatty acids and heart health.  In 2004 he and his colleague Clemens von Schacky, MD proposed that the “Omega-3 Index” (RBC EPA+DHA) be considered as a new risk factor, for not only cardiovascular but also neurocognitive diseases. In 2009, he started OmegaQuant Analytics, LLC to offer the test to researchers, healthcare providers and consumers. In 2020, he founded the Fatty Acid Research Institute, a non-profit entity to foster research on the connections between fatty acids and health.

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