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Omega 3 May Slow Down Aging

By Dr. Kristie

Now there may be another reason to eat your salmon. A new study shows that people with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their bloodstream may have younger cells. Could omega-3’s slow down the aging process?

Higher Levels of Omega-3, Younger Cells?

In a study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers looked at the telomere length of blood cells from 608 people with uncomplicated heart disease. Telomeres are short segments of DNA located at the end of chromosomes that helps to protect them from damage.

Telomere length is believed to be a marker for biological aging. Shorter telomere lengths are associated with faster aging and a higher risk for diseases such as cancer.

When researchers looked at the telomeres of these patients with heart disease, they found that those with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids had slower rates of telomere shortening compared to those with lower levels.

The researchers re-measured telomere length at the beginning of the study and five years later and found the same association. If this holds true, getting higher levels of omega-3’s could help to slow down the cellular aging process and, possibly, lower the risk of diseases such as cancer - while helping cells stay young longer.

How Do Omega-3’s Help Cells Stay Young?

The researchers believe that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce oxidative stress that could lead to more rapid telomere shortening. Omega-3’s lower the levels of some key enzymes and markers that are associated with cell aging and stress.

Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids also help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress which the telomeres may be particularly susceptible to.

There’s still a lot more research needed to show that omega-3 fatty acids can keep cells young, but it’s intriguing that something as simple as getting more omega-3’s from fatty fish and fish oils could slow down the cell aging process.

Are Higher Levels of Omega-3 Important?

Should you take omega-3 fatty acid supplements if you want younger cells? It’s premature to give too much credence to this research, but omega-3’s offer lots of other health benefits. They help to lower triglyceride levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

They also have anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce the risk of some types of cancer – although more research is needed to confirm this.

Levels of Omega-3: The Bottom Line?

If you don’t get enough fatty fish in your diet naturally, ask your doctor about using fish oil supplements. It’s important to talk to your doctor before taking them since they’re not suitable for everyone – particularly people who are taking blood thinners; but for some people the omega-3’s found in fish oils may offer significant health benefits.


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