To do this, they followed 15,063 people and measured their lung function repeatedly over the span of 20 years. The group was considered healthy and racially diverse with no previous lung health concerns.
At the end of the study, those who had higher blood levels of omega-3 fats also had a slower rate of lung function decline (aka lung health was better preserved). And the fatty acid DHA seemed to offer the most benefits.
In fact, each 1% increase of DHA in a person’s blood was significantly linked to even slower lung decline.
The type and amount of omega-3s you eat are directly correlated with blood levels of these fatty acids. So it’s a safe assumption that the people in this study with higher levels of omega-3 fats consumed more of those nutrients.
Scientists have yet to pinpoint the mechanism behind why omega-3s have this impact on the lungs. But from previous research, we know that omega-3s have extensive antioxidant capabilities5 that support a diverse range of health functions in the body.* And it may be those actions that help preserve lung function.