Eat More Fish!

Posted October 25, 2018

The National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study, which followed a total of 240,729 men and 180,580 women for 16 years, found that higher fish intake was significantly associated with lower total mortality. For women in the study, consumption of fish resulted in a lower Alzheimer’s disease mortality rate. The study was published by the Association for the Publication of the Journal of Internal Medicine and recommended by Dr. Tuck Finch, member of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Research Leadership Group.

Research Paper:

The paper is available Open Access



Prevailing dietary guidelines recommend regular fish consumption. However, the associations of fish and long‐chain omega‐3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCn‐3 PUFAs) intakes with mortality remain unclear.


To examine the associations of fish and LCn‐3 PUFAs intakes with total and cause‐specific mortality.


A total of 240 729 men and 180 580 women from NIH‐AARP Diet and Health Study were prospectively followed‐up for 16 years. Dietary intakes were assessed using a validated NIH Diet History Questionnaire.


A total of 54 230 men and 30 882 women died during 6.07 million person‐years of follow‐up. Higher fish and LCn‐3 PUFAs intakes were significantly associated with lower total mortality (P < 0.0001). Comparing the highest with lowest quintiles of fish intake, men had 9% (95% confidence interval, 6–11%) lower total mortality, 10% (6–15%) lower cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, 6% (1–10%) lower cancer mortality, 20% (11–28%) lower respiratory disease mortality and 37% (17–53%) lower chronic liver disease mortality, while women had 8% (5–12%) lower total mortality, 10% (3–17%) lower CVD mortality and 38% (20–52%) lower Alzheimer’s disease mortality. Fried fish consumption was not related to mortality in men whereas positively associated with mortality from all causes (P = 0.011), CVD and respiratory disease in women. LCn‐3 PUFAs intake was associated with 15% and 18% lower CVD mortality in men and women across extreme quintiles, respectively.


Consumption of fish and LCn‐3 PUFAs was robustly associated with lower mortality from major causes. Our findings support current guidelines for fish consumption while advice on non‐frying preparation methods is needed.