Omega-3s May Keep Cells Young
Consuming more omega-3 essential fatty acids may actually keep your cells young. Multiple studies have found that people with high intakes of omega-3 essential fatty acids tend to live longer but very little research has been done to determine the mechanisms behind this affect.
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco sought to fill this gap in research with their recent study. The results of their study are published in the January 2010 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
The researchers looked at the telomere length in blood cells of 608 individuals with stable coronary artery disease.
Telomeres are the DNA sequences at the end of chromosomes that shorten as cells replicate and age. Think of them as the tips on the end of shoelaces that keep them from unraveling. When the telomere is totally consumed, the cell is destroyed.
When the researchers compared the telomere length of individuals with the highest intake of omega-3 fatty acids to those with the lowest, they found that participants with the highest intakes had slower rates of telomere shortening.
The researchers say these results are likely due to the fact that omega-3s reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been shown to increase the rate of telomere shortening.
While research is ongoing to fully discover all the benefits omega-3 essential fatty acids deliver, to date they have been shown to improve cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and possibly even slow cognitive decline as we age.
Salmon, mackerel, lake trout and albacore tuna all have very high omega-3 levels. If you opt for a supplement, be sure that it is a quality supplement high in DHA and EPA and certified for purity.