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What are the benefits of omega-3 fish oils for the elderly?

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Quick Answer

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil lower the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, according to WebMD. They are also helpful in preventing and treating heart disease.

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Full Answer

In a large 2008 study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology and cited by WebMD, researchers found that consuming omega-3-rich oily fish, such as salmon, trout and tuna, lowered the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration by 38 percent. The essential fatty acid can be as effective when taken in oral supplement form, through capsules, or in fortified products, such as butter substitutes, as when derived from natural food sources. Other studies have confirmed that omega-3 fatty acids reduce the chance of heart attack and stroke by lowering triglyceride and blood pressure levels and slowing the development of arterial plaque. They also reduce the chance of individuals with heart disease dying suddenly due to cardiac-related causes.

The American Heart Association suggests a maximum of 3 grams of fish oil supplements be taken daily, and ideally, individuals should include fatty fish in the diet at least twice a week, explains WebMD. Individuals with heart disease may need increased dosages, and prescription-strength fish oils can be used to lower triglycerides. Side effects from omega-3 oils include nausea and loose stools; consuming more than 3 grams daily can put individuals at greater risk for bleeding.

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