Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Protect Against Severe SARS-CoV-2 Infection


Bioactive omega-3 fatty acids are associated with reduced risk and severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Resaearch ha found that higher DHA status is associated with lower risk of testing positive for infection with SARS-CoV-2 and of being hospitalized with COVID-19.

The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

In this issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Harris et al. [1] report that a higher status of the bioactive omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is associated with a lower risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and of being hospitalized with the disease it causes, COVID-19.

DHA and its precursor eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are obtained from the diet, with the richest source being seafood, especially fatty fish, and are also found in “fish oil” supplements.

Circulating levels of EPA and DHA are higher in those who consume fatty fish regularly and in those who use “fish oil” supplements.

Harris et al. [1] report an inverse association for a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 infection and for hospitalization with COVID-19 across
quintiles of plasma DHA. In unadjusted analysis, the hazard ratio for testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the highest compared with the
lowest quintile of plasma DHAwas 0.60 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.55, 0.67; P < 0.001], whereas for hospitalization with COVID-19, it
was 0.48 (95% CI: 0.38, 0.60; P < 0.001).

Fish oil use was recorded in the UK BioBank, and from 110,440 participants, 26.6% reported habitual use of fish oil supplements. Ma et al. [6] reported that habitual fish oil use was associated with lower risk of hospital admission with COVID-19 (hazard ratio: 0.79; 95% CI: 0.69, 0.83) and mortality from COVID-19 (hazard ratio: 0.69; 95% CI: 0.58, 0.83) after adjustment for age and sex, and this remained significant after further adjustment for age, sex, and multiple other covariates.

A number of association studies, including those using the large UK BioBank dataset, indicate that higher DHA status is associated with lower risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, being hospital- ized with COVID-19, and severe outcome from COVID-19.


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