Omega-3 supplements again shown to preserve telomeres and extend natural lifespan
(NaturalNews) Despite a continual assault on the health benefits of omega-3 fat supplementation by the mainstream media and Big Pharma drug manufacturers, solid evidence is released by the scientific research community to vindicate the critical importance of the long-chain fatty acids. The omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA have repeatedly been shown to help prevent chronic diseases ranging from cancer and dementia to heart disease and stroke. It is an indisputable fact that these essential fats are necessary for the human body to assimilate the billions of cellular structures that form our organs and tissues and aid DNA replication.
Researchers from Ohio State University have published the result of a study in the journal, Brain, Behavior and Immunity that demonstrates how taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements can change the balance of oils in the diet to slow a key biological process linked to aging. The study team found that most healthy, middle-aged and older adults who took omega-3 supplements for four months altered the ratio of their fatty acid consumption in a way that helped preserve tiny segments of DNA in their white blood cells.
Telomeres naturally shorten over time as a consequence of poor diet, stress, environmental and household pollutants. Many consider telomere shortening to be a normal part of the aging process. Scientists know that telomeres shorten faster as a result of increased oxidative stress, a process induced by consuming foods laden in trans or hydrogenated fats and sugars and by chronic disease.
Omega-3 fats lower systemic inflammation to slow and reverse telomere shortening
This research is important because it supports the notion that telomere shortening can be prevented and even reversed by lifestyle improvements including supplementing with the omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA to alter the blood ratio with inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Lead study author, Dr. Jan Kiecolt-Glaser commented "The telomere finding is provocative in that it suggests the possibility that a nutritional supplement might actually make a difference in aging."
To implement the study, researchers broke participants into three groups (106 disease-free adults, average age of 51) and were supplemented with 2.5 grams of active omega-3 fats (combined EPA/DHA in a 7:1 ratio), 1.5 grams of the long-chain fats or a placebo. Both groups of participants who took omega-3 supplements showed, on average, lengthening of telomeres compared to telomere stability or decline in the placebo group. When the scientists reviewed the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats in the overall diet, they found a direct relationship to telomere lengthening, where a lower ratio was clearly associated with lengthened telomeres.
The research team concluded that improved omega-3 to omega-6 fat ratios obtained with fish oil supplementation resulted in a reduction in total body systemic inflammation. Telomere shortening was reduced and even reversed to lower risk of chronic disease in the cohort group. Based on the findings of this study and numerous other prior research bodies, most adults will want to supplement with 1,200 to 2,400 mg per day of a molecularly distilled fish oil (in a 7:1 EPA/DHA ratio) to extend natural lifespan as part of a total health maintenance program.
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A remarkable human study published in 2012, in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, showed that overweight, sedentary adults, who were given a daily omega-3 fatty supplement, realized a lengthening of their DNA telomeres and reduced blood markers of inflammation and free radical damage, compared to subjects given the placebo.
Telomeres are short fragments of DNA that act as caps at the end of the DNA in each of our cells, and can be likened to the protective plastic tips at the end of a shoelace. Every time a cell divides, the telomere shortens slightly. Once the telomere reaches a critical level of shortening the cell is much more prone to be converted into a cancer cell, stop functioning, and/or is associated with increased risk of other degenerative diseases. Thus, re-lengthening of telemores is an important finding that is linked to prevention of cancer, reversal of the aging process and possibly prevention of various degenerative diseases. Omega-3 fat supplementation is one a very few agents ever shown to re-lengthen human telomeres in-vivo. In this study researchers examined immune cells in human subjects, witnessing a re-lengthening of immune cell telomeres. This is truly remarkable.
The study also showed that overweight, sedentary individuals who took the omega-3 fatty acid supplement had reduced blood markers of inflammation, namely inteukin-6 (IL-6), which was 10-12% lower that than the placebo group. The omega-3 fat group also showed 15% less oxidative stress compared to the placebo group, as measured by the presence in the blood of F2 isoprostanes (a blood marker for free radical damage).
Of interest is the fact that the placebo supplement was a comprised of a mix of oils representing a typical American’s daily fat intake. The group given the placebo fats exhibited a rise in inflammatory markers (IL-6) of 36% during the study period, illustrating the inflammation-promoting effect of the standard North American Diet.
The study included 106 adults, average age 51 years, who were either overweight or obese and lived sedentary lives. The study population was disease-free and reported very little stress. The researchers excluded people who were taking medications to control mood, cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as vegetarians, patients with diabetes, smokers, those routinely taking fish oil, people who got more than two hours of vigorous exercise each week, and those whose body mass index was either below 22.5 or above 40.
In general, the findings of the study suggest that simply taking a supplement containing sufficient omega-3 fats (1250 – 2500 mg) each day may significantly reduce inflammation, oxidative stress and re-lengthen telomeres. This combination of effects have been shown to have important implications in the prevention of cancer, heart and cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease, and may improve the management of a variety of inflammatory disorders (e.g. arthritis), and slow the aging process in general.
I personally take 3 capsules per day of a supplement that yields 800 mg of omega-3 fatty acid oils per capsule – providing a total of 2400 mg of omega-3 fat oils per day. This research provides evidence that omega-3 fats may be even more important than previously reported, especially in regard to re-lengthening telomeres – that is really noteworthy.
I explain the overall benefits of omega-3 fat supplementation in chapter 2 of my book: The Meschino Optimal Living Program. You can download the chapter for free at the following link: http://www.meschinohealth.com/LP/Essential_Supplements
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