Both omega-3 and gut bacteria are hot health topics in their own firmly established rights. We all know how crucial it is to get plenty of omega-3s in the diet, and equally how important it is to nurture a thriving colony of friendly bacteria in the gut for overall health.
Now a new study has joined the dots and found that omega-3 may actually have a positive influence on the composition of friendly bacteria in the gut. This is the largest study to date to examine the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and the composition of the gut microbiome.
Omega-3 fats, found in rich supply in nuts, seeds and oily fish are often lacking in a typical Western diet, yet are known to be crucial for many different aspects of health, from cardiovascular and joints, to skin, mood, memory, learning, concentration and much more. They are needed at every stage of life, right from conception to support a developing baby’s needs, and way beyond into old age.
The benefits of omega-3s are backed by a wealth of scientific research, and now a new study has found that getting more of these crucial fats in your diet may also help to improve the health and diversity of the beneficial bacteria living in your gut – another key marker of optimal health.
In this latest study, published in Scientific Reports, researchers analysed food intake and serum levels of omega-3 fatty acids in 876 female twins.
Results showed that both total omega-3 and DHA serum levels were significantly correlated with gut microbiome diversity after adjusting for confounders including dietary fibre and probiotic intake.
The researchers commented on the results,
“We examined their food intake of omega-3 fatty acids using food frequency questionnaires and found these data, together with their serum levels of omega-3, were strongly associated with the diversity and number of species of healthy bacteria in the gut.”
Lead author Cristina Menni added,
“We found that high levels of omega-3 in blood are correlated with high levels of a compound called N-carbamylglutamate (NCG) in the gut. This compound has been shown in animals to reduce oxidative stress in the gut. We believe that some of the good effects of omega-3 in the gut may be due to the fact that omega-3 induces bacteria to produce this substance.”
A real win for your health!
Most people will benefit from increasing their intake of omega-3 fats from nuts, seeds and oily fish and most would also benefit from taking steps to support a healthy balance of gut bacteria too. Now this latest study shows that it is possible to do both at the same time. A real win for your health we reckon!
Menni C et al. Omega-3 fatty acids correlate with gut microbiome diversity and production of N-carbamylglutamate in middle-aged and elderly women. Scientific Reports. Published online, open access, doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-10382-2