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Omega-3 Supplementation May Help Protect Telomeres From Stress

Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces. Telomere length tends to decrease in response to stress and aging. A recent study has found that omega-3 supplementation may help protect telomere length in response to stress.

Participants in the study included 138 sedentary middle-aged adults. They were given 2.5 grams of omega-3, 1.25 grams of omega-3, or a placebo daily for 4 months. The researchers administered the Trier Social Stress Test at baseline and at the end of the study period. Saliva and blood samples were collected at baseline and at the end of the study period to evaluate telomere length, cortisol, and inflammatory cytokines.

Participants in the omega-3 groups saw no declines in telomere length after the stress test, compared to a 24% decrease in the placebo group. They also saw no declines in anti-inflammatory cytokines, compared to a 26% decrease in the placebo group. In addition, participants in the high-dose omega-3 group saw a 33% reduction in cortisol levels following the stress test compared to the placebo group.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Ohio State University College of Medicine. It was published online ahead of print April 20, 2021 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

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