Can the omega-3’s in fish save your hearing?

diet, fatty acids, fish, fish oil, hearing, heart disease, Olumia Life, omega-3

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At Olumia Life, we love telling you all the benefits of maintaining a healthy amount of fish and the omega-3 fatty acids they contain, in your diet. There are just tons of ways that getting the right amount of omega-3’s in your diet can help you out. New research out of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School, though, just found one new way that eating fish can help you out in the long term; it can reduce the risk of hearing loss.

While the study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, only looked at the effects of omega-3’s and fish in the diet of women, it certainly opens the door for future research into men as well.

Omega-3’s and Fish and Hearing

Omega-3 fatty acids, and specifically, long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), are common in pretty much all seafood, including fish, shellfish, shrimp, and squid.

Omega-3’s, among their many benefits, help keep material flowing in and out of cells, and it has been established that omega-3’s reduce the risk of heart disease.

This effect, suggests lead lead study author, Dr. Sharon Curhan, may be what helps maintain hearing over time. The blood flowing in and out of the ear needs to be highly controlled, as the ear takes a lot of energy to function properly.

A Long Time Coming

In order to learn how omega-3’s and a diet rich in fish affected women’s hearing over time, you need, well, a lot of women and a lot of time. Curhan and other researchers were able to find both of these in the data of the Nurses’ Health Study II.

The study followed participating women, a total of 62,215, over the course of almost 2 decades and examined a wide range of health issues they experienced. According to the Nurses’ Health Study page on the Harvard website:

“While the prevention of cancer is still a primary focus, the study has also produced landmark data on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many other conditions. Most importantly, these studies have shown that diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors can powerfully promote better health.”

After examining women from 1991 to 2009, researchers were able to examine the mountain of data and discover some very interesting facts about omega-3’s:

Not only did a diet rich in fish and their omega-3’s help reduce hearing loss, the type of fish consumed did not make a difference. Whether it was tuna, salmon, and so on, results were typical across the board.

What should I do about this?

Well, the women in the study that experienced reduced hearing loss all ate at least 2 servings of fish per week. Olumia Life recommends you get you get at least 2-4 servings of fish each week, but be sure to get 1 serving of omega-3’s each day (about 1-2 grams). It doesn’t need to always come from fish.

This means you don’t have to fill your freezer with trout, though; there are many sources of omega-3’s out there. Natural sources are always best, including:

  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Walnuts and other nuts
  • Beans
  • Seeds, like pumpkin seeds
  • Flaxseed and flaxseed oil
  • Fish, especially salmon, sardines, tuna and other oily fish
  • Cod liver oil

On top of all the seafood options available, that’s a great many sources. Variety is important in maintaining your healthy diet for the long haul, though, so missing out here and there is totally fine. You don’t want to get sick of eating the same foods, even if they are healthy.

When you don’t get your omega-3’s from your food, then, you can always take fish oil supplements to pick up the slack. They’re convenient and available all over the place.

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