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Factors Influencing Omega-3 Index Status in Active-Duty Military Personnel

Summer 2024

Brown J, Soto MA, Lindsay KG, Harris M, Karagosian SA, Bailey K, Hutchins A. 24(2). 44 - 50. (Journal Article)


Background: This study assessed omega-3 fatty acid (O3FA) status, previous brain injury risk exposures, and associations between O3FA status and risk exposures among active-duty military personnel. Methods: O3FA status was measured by a Holman omega-3 blood test. A survey was conducted to assess brain injury risk history and dietary O3FA factors. Results: More than 50% of the participants had high-risk status, based on an omega-3 index (O3I) <4%, while less than 2% of the participants recorded low-risk O3I (>8%). O3FA supplementation (p<.001, Cramer's V=0.342) and fish consumption (p<.001, Cramer's V=0.210) were positively correlated with O3FA status. Only 5 O3FA supplement users (n=97 [5.2%]) had a low-risk O3I status, while all nonusers (n=223) had moderateto high-risk O3I status. Conclusions: Supplementing with O3FA was associated with better O3I status in this population. However, only a few participants achieved optimal O3I status even when taking an O3FA supplement. Participants who ate fish and did not supplement were in the moderateor high-risk O3I groups.

Keywords: omega-3 fatty acids; brain health; brain injury; brain injury risk; traumatic brain injury; TBI; active-duty military; Special Operations; Special Operations Forces; SOF

PMID: 38830308

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