Telomeres and Omega 3’s: Is there a Connection?
This week researchers at the University of California in San Francisco reported results on patients they had studied over 5 years who had a history of heart attacks and/or heart disease. They were specifically looking at the effects of omega 3 fats on aging and telomere length.
Telomeres are DNA complexes on the ends of chromosomes. Researcher Elizabeth Blackburn compares telomeres to the tips at the ends of new shoelaces which preventing unraveling. As the telomeres shorten the ends unravel and this unraveling has been linked with aging.
Individuals who had higher levels of omega 3 fats in their blood had significantly less shortening of their telomeres than those who who had low levels. The study did not differentiate between food or supplements.
What is the take home message for us? Many people take multiple medications and/or supplements to prevent aging. If you eat fatty fish 3-4 times a week you may be adding years to your life. If fish is not in your diet I recommend you take a good quality fish oil supplement with at least 500-1000 mg. each of the omega 3 fats DHA and EPA. By eating 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed you will easily be getting your needs for the third omega 3 fat – ALA.
Since our standard diet is devoid of omega 3’s being mindful of how you get them -whether in your diet or supplement can be significant in your health, wellbeing and ant-aging process!
February 12, 2010 @ 1:39 pm
yes. i agree with you. also Omega 3 is considered an unsaturated fatty acid. Unsaturated fats are good and saturated fats are considered not-so-good for the body. Omega 3 can be found in fish, such as salmon, and has been known to help the mind and body.
February 12, 2010 @ 4:52 pm
Yes, the omega 3 fats are polyunsaturated and it is important to increase these, and decrease omega 6 fatty acids which also polyunsaturated but pro-inflammatory.
For an interesting read on saturated fats see:
Dr. Neville Wilson
August 26, 2010 @ 3:15 pm
Saturated fats are not "unhealthy" fats , and the false perception that saturated fat is harmful to health is based on observations that saturated fats raise total cholesterol levels.
This is irrelavent, since saturated fats raise the healthy HDL levels, which are cardioprotective, and reflected as a high total cholesterol in the blood.
Increases in HDL improves the total cholesterol / HDL ratio which is a more specific marker for cardiovascular health than either LDL or total cholesterol.