Published on February 17, 2021

Pilot study shows reduced risk of death due to COVID-19 among individuals with higher Omega-3 Index

Omega-3 fatty acids deserve much attention for their health benefits across all ages, from lowering the risk of death from heart disease and breast cancer, to improving mental health and learning disabilities, and even decreasing the risk of overall mortality.

In studies using a measurement called the Omega-3 Index test [which measures the amount of two very important omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) in the red blood cell membranes], individuals with a low Omega-3 Index were shown to have a 10-fold higher risk of death compared to those with a high index. An Omega-3 Index between 8% and 12% was associated with lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, versus an index less than 4%.

Unfortunately, omega-3 deficiency is a fast-evolving global health concern, with 80-90% of the world’s countries and regions having average levels considered low or very low.

How Could Your Omega-3 Status Affect Your Response to COVID-19?

The hyper-inflammatory state referred to as the “cytokine storm” is the leading theory that explains why some people have a severe reaction to coronaviruses while others only experience mild symptoms. Moderate levels of inflammation are associated with mild-moderate symptoms of COVID-19, whereas higher levels of inflammation are associated with more severe COVID-19 symptoms and death. We have previously discussed the roles of omega-3s in lowering inflammation and working with omega-6 fatty acids to maintain the balance of inflammation in the body. Besides its effect on inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids are also important for improving the immune response through the activation of certain immune cells. We also recently discussed the anti-inflammatory, immune-modulating, and potential antiviral roles of omega-3s and how they may contribute to the prevention of and response to COVID-19 disease.

Today we are excited to share findings from the first study published to analyze actual COVID-19 patient data to determine whether omega-3 status was related to the risk of death from COVID-19 disease.

Study Shows Lack of Omega-3s May Contribute to the Risk of Death from COVID-19

This small pilot study was published by Asher et al., and included 100 hospitalized COVID-19 patients whose blood was taken within ten days of diagnosis. The Omega-3 Index was measured, as it is considered the best indicator of omega-3 status.

Among the 100 patients, the average Omega-3 Index was 5.09% and the median was 4.75% – both much lower than the recommended Omega-3 Index of at least 8%. Participant data was broken down into quartiles based on Omega-3 Index (Q1 at < 4%, Q2 at 4-4.7%, Q3 at 4.7-5.7%, Q4 at ≥5.7%).

Click to Enlarge & Print

When analyzing data between the highest quartile (with an Omega-3 Index of at least 5.7%, N=25) and the lowest quartiles (with an Omega-3 Index of below 5.7%, N=75), the authors found that the risk of death due to COVID-19 was approximately 75% lower in the group with the highest Omega-3 Index compared to those in the lower Omega-3 Index groups. The p-value for this finding was 0.07, which is slightly higher than what is considered statistically significant (p=0.05). However, this could be expected for two main reasons – the overall number of patients included in the study was too low for statistical significance in the first place, and the number of patients with a higher Omega-3 Index was also too low. Keep in mind that none of the quartiles used for analysis included only individuals with an Omega-3 Index at or above 8% – the minimum level recommended by GrassrootsHealth.

Of note, an interesting finding among the unadjusted data was that the risk of death associated with having a low Omega-3 Index appeared to be at least as predictive as the risk for those who were 10 years of age older!

What Could We Discover with More Data?

This small study shows a strong trend that suggests a protective effect of omega-3 fatty acids against death due to COVID-19. Could there be even greater, significant findings if we were to look at a larger set of data that included more individuals whose Omega-3 Index was 8% or higher?

Do You Know Your Omega-3 Index?

Find out where your Omega-3 Index level is while contributing to one of the world’s largest nutrient field trials – and help us answer that question and more about how omega-3s, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients can benefit our health.

By joining the GrassrootsHealth projects, you are not only contributing valuable information to our study, but you are also gaining knowledge about how you could improve your own health through measuring and tracking your nutrient status, and educating yourself on how to improve it. Do you know what your status of vitamin D, omega-3s, and other essential nutrients is? Could your levels be improved? Test now to find out!

We now have a NEW GIFTING SERVICE that allows you to quickly send ‘Gift Cards’ to friends, family and coworkers who you consider might need immediate access to testing, and to Claim the Joy of Your Health TODAY. Give the gift today!

What does the Research Say about Vitamin D & COVID-19?

It’s TIME to start saving lives! If you can help PREVENT the majority of the death, it’s time! What’s it costing you/us not to take action NOW?

There is much published research that supports a clear link between vitamin D and COVID-19 showing that higher vitamin D levels are related to:

a decreased risk of testing positive for COVID-19

increased viral SARS-CoV-2 RNA clearance

better clinical outcomes among patients with COVID-19

less severe COVID-19 disease

decreased risk of death due to COVID-19

Be sure to educate yourself on the benefits and importance of vitamin D for immune health, and take steps to ensure you and your loved ones are getting enough.

You can review all of the COVID-19 and immune health information we have shared on this page.

What Does it Take YOU to Get Your D to 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)?

Did you know your health could be greatly affected by making sure you have a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)? Help us help you.

STEP 1 - Do you know what your vitamin D level is? If not, be sure to test today to find out.

STEP 2 – Determine your target level. Are you at your target level? Experts recommend a level of at least 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L).

STEP 3 – Need to boost your level? Use the D*calculator to see how much vitamin D it may take to reach your target. Opt for the Loading Dose for a quicker boost.

STEP 4 – Optimize how your body absorbs and utilizes vitamin D with co-nutrients and these simple steps.

STEP 5 – Re-Test! This is an important step to make sure you have reached your target level, and to ensure you are not taking too much! Re-testing after 3-4 months is recommended.

STEP 6 – Adjust, Repeat…

Give your immune system the nutrients it needs to support a healthy you and protect yourself from unnecessary diseases, especially COVID-19.


The first Randomized Controlled Trial on vitamin D and COVID-19 has shown a 96% lower risk of ICU admission for those receiving vitamin D (as 25(OH)D to quickly boost vitamin D blood levels) along with the standard treatment, compared to those receiving standard treatment alone.

These results support many previous observational studies showing a relationship between vitamin D levels and intake and COVID-19 severity.

Review the Latest Nutrient Research for COVID-19

GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute has launched the new Immune Boost project with the use of our myData-myAnswers nutrient health system that nearly 15,000 people are already using for their health. Specific markers that influence immune health are suggested for testing as part of this project including:

  • Vitamin D
  • Omega-3 Index
  • Essential elements magnesium, selenium, and zinc
  • hsCRP

Our goal is to demonstrate how one can use the Nutrient Research Model established by Dr. Robert Heaney to show the effect of vitamin D serum levels of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) on risk reduction for all ethnicities in the population. Status and intake of other nutrients will also be analyzed for any type of relationship to immune status and symptom severity. Join the project today!

Please let us know if you're interested in helping sponsor this project.

CLICK HERE for updates and new information about the project.

Through GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute, you can also test your essential elements magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium, toxins such as lead, mercury and cadmium, as well as your omega-3 levels, inflammation levels and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. Find out your levels today! Log on to the test selection page (click the link below) to get your tests and see for yourself if your levels can be improved.

Make sure you track your results before and after, about every 6 months!

Click Here to Access the Test Page

How can I track my nutrient intake and levels over time?

To help you track your supplement use and nutrient levels, GrassrootsHealth has created the Personal Health Nutrient Decision System called

For each specific supplement, you can track what days you take it, how much, and many other details.  This will help you know your true supplemental intake and what patterns of use work for you to reach and maintain optimum nutrient levels. Check it out today!