Study Shows People with a Higher Omega-3 Index Have a Lower Risk of Stroke

January 16, 2024, Sioux Falls, SD: A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Stroke shows that people who have the highest omega-3 blood levels (i.e., Omega-3 Index) have a 17% lower risk of stroke.

Stroke is a burgeoning public health crisis that costs the US healthcare system hundreds of  billions of dollars in treatment, caregiving, and rehabilitation. And costs are projected to hit the trillions by 2050, according to a paper published in the Lancet last October.

For this most recent study, researchers analyzed more than 183,000 subjects across 29 prospective studies with an average age of 65 and looked at risk for stroke from any cause, as well as stroke due to a blood clot.

They found that those in the highest 20% of omega-3 levels had a 17% lower risk for total stroke compared with people in the lowest 20% of omega-3 levels. About the same was seen for ischemic strokes. There was no association between omega-3 levels and risk for hemorrhagic stroke.

These are good findings, researchers believe, the former because it means that higher omega-3 levels help lower chances of stroke, and the latter because there had been some concern that higher omega-3 levels—because they “thin the blood”—might increase risk for brain bleeds, and this latest research shows this is not the case.

“This paper confirms previous studies that found favorable relationships between omega-3 and stroke risk by including a very large number of subjects from a wide range of countries. It also gives comfort by showing that raising your omega-3 levels into the healthy zone (~8% Omega-3 Index) you do not increase your risk for clinically significant bleeding,” explained William S. Harris, PhD, President of the Fatty Acid Research Institute (FARI); founder of OmegaQuant Analytics, LLC; and Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota.

“These findings are extremely exciting because stroke is such a devastating event, drastically changing the trajectory of peoples’ lives, so finding nutritional ways to reduce risk for stroke that require no medicines is important and useful information,” he added. “Raising omega-3 levels into the healthy zone can be accomplished simply by eating more omega-3 rich fish and/or by taking omega-3 supplements.”

The health benefits of omega-3 don’t just relate to heart disease but also to other important cardiovascular outcomes like stroke, which opens the door to further studies to understand the mechanisms by which omega-3s help protect the brain.




Study Link: “Omega-3 Blood Levels and Stroke Risk: A Pooled and Harmonized Analysis of 183 291 Participants From 29 Prospective Studies” Stroke; December 22, 2023.

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Becky Wright

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About OmegaQuant:

OmegaQuant is an independent, CLIA-certified lab that offers nutritional status testing to researchers, clinicians and the public. OmegaQuant performs analysis in Sioux Falls, SD, for commercial and academic research collaborators, and for consumers interested in monitoring their nutritional status in both blood and breast milk. Its goal is to offer the highest quality fatty acid analytical services to researchers and to provide simple tests of nutritional status to consumers, with the ultimate purpose of advancing the science and use of certain nutrients to improve health. Internationally, OmegaQuant works with lab partners based in Australia and the UK. In the UK, it has a partnership with the University of Stirling, based in the Scotland, to help process blood samples from Europe. Learn more @

About FARI:

FARI was established in 2020 as a non-profit foundation that brings together nutrition scientists and biostatistical experts with strong publication records and expertise in fatty acids to accelerate discovery of the relationship between fatty acids, especially omega-3s, and health. FARI is currently the only organization focused directly on discovering and publishing research evaluating the health effects of individual fatty acids. Learn more @

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