London: Consuming oily fish like salmon, and flaxseeds and walnuts, that can increase your levels of omega-3 fatty acids, may protect you against severe Covid, according to a study.
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), showed that fatty acids such as EPA and DHA might be protective against contracting and/or suffering adverse outcomes of Covid infection.
People with the highest omega-3 levels were 21 per cent less likely to test positive, and the risk for a positive test was 8 per cent lower for each increase in plasma DHA per cent.
They were also 26 per cent less likely to be hospitalised, and risk for hospitalisation was 11 per cent lower per increase in plasma DHA per cent.
The researchers also pointed out that South Korea and Japan have reported an extremely low severity of Covid-19 disease. Besides masking practices, social distancing policies and other population-wide interventions, it is interesting to note that the Omega-3 Index values of healthy South Korean and Japanese individuals are about 8-12 per cent and 7-11 per cent, respectively. On the contrary, the Omega-3 index in western populations such as the US is just 4-5 per cent. The US remains the most infected in terms of Covid.
“A worldwide pattern linking higher omega-3 fatty acid intakes with lower rates of death with Covid-19 has been documented. Although only suggestive, this observation adds further support for a potential role of omega-3s EPA and DHA in the prevention of fatal Covid-19 disease,” the researchers said.
“This study confirms previous findings that low omega-3 status is associated with increased risk for hospitalisation with Covid-19. We extended these findings by also showing reduced risk for testing positive with the infection and by providing evidence that the risk for death may also be reduced,” said Dr. William S. Harris, from the Fatty Acid Research Institute (FARI).
“Altogether these results support the practice of increasing consumption of oily fish like salmon or omega-3 fish oil supplements as a potential risk reduction strategy when it comes to Covid-19,” he noted.