Omega-3 fatty acids might have another benefit – protecting your hearing.
This is according to a recent research study shared at a meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, in Boston. This article will break down this exciting new discovery in plain language. Let’s dive right in.
Omega-3 and Your Hearing
You may have heard about omega-3 fatty acids. They are good fats, mostly found in certain types of fish like salmon, as well as nuts and seeds.
We can also get them from dietary supplements like fish oil. They’re known for their health benefits, but now scientists think they might help your hearing too.
In the study, the researchers found a link between one particular omega-3 fatty acid – called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – and hearing loss.
People who had less of this in their bodies were more likely to have hearing problems as they got older. But people with higher amounts of DHA were 8% to 20% less likely to suffer from hearing problems related to aging.
The leader of the study, a scientist named Michael McBurney, pointed out that this does not mean that high DHA levels stop hearing loss from happening.
But there seems to be some sort of connection. He also added that this research highlights how important omega-3 fatty acids are for our body as we age.
The Study and Its Findings
To find these results, McBurney and his team looked at data from more than 115,000 men and women aged 40 to 69. They were all part of a big health study in the UK called the U.K. Biobank.
The team found that people with the most DHA in their bodies were 16% more likely to have no hearing issues compared to those with the least DHA.
These high-DHA individuals also found it easier to understand conversations in a noisy room – they were 11% less likely to have trouble with this compared to those with low DHA levels.
How Does DHA Help?
At this point, you might be wondering how omega-3 fatty acids, or DHA, might help your hearing. The truth is, scientists aren’t exactly sure yet.
They think that these healthy fats might help protect the cells in your ear. They might also help your body fight off inflammation caused by loud noises, chemicals, or infections. This could help prevent hearing loss as you age.
To increase the DHA levels in your body, you can eat more fatty fish or take fish oil supplements.
If you’re thinking about trying a supplement, make sure it lists DHA and another omega-3 fatty acid, called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), on the label.
What the Experts Say
However, some experts are cautious. They believe more research is needed before we can be sure that taking DHA supplements will improve hearing.
Dr. Linda Dahl, a hearing specialist at Northwell Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said we still need to figure out if adding DHA to our diet can really protect against or treat hearing loss.
But, she added, if this turns out to be true, it could be significant because adding DHA to our diet is fairly easy.
In summary, while the connection between DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, and hearing loss isn’t fully understood, there’s enough evidence to suggest a possible link.
As with any health advice, it’s always good to consult with your doctor or a healthcare professional before making any major changes to your diet or routine.
And remember, maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise are key to overall health. So, while we wait for more research on this topic, let’s continue to eat healthy, stay active, and listen to the world around us.
If you care about nutrition, please read studies that whole grain foods could help increase longevity, and vitamin D supplements strongly reduce cancer death.
For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about natural coconut sugar that could help reduce blood pressure and artery stiffness, and anti-inflammatory diet could help prevent fatty liver disease.
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