Research has now shown that adding Omega-3
fatty acids to the diet can increase the
survival rate of those with coronary heart
disease. Omega-3s have also been shown to
slow down the aging process. The marker
used to determine these findings was a part
of the DNA strand called telomeres. The
research concluded that high levels of Omega-3
fatty acids in the blood slowed the aging
process by as much as five years.
Telomeres are part of the DNA. They sit
at the end of chromosomes, looking like
red caps on the end of the DNA strands.
Sometimes described as "plastic tips
of shoelaces", telomeres protect the
genes and help them to divide properly.
Telomeres shorten with age. They also shorten
from infection, smoking, lack of exercise,
and obesity. Previous research has identified
a relationship between short telomeres,
congestive heart failure, and strokes. Additional
studies showed that short telomeres are
a risk factor for coronary heart disease.
Research on Omega-3 and Aging
The recent study was conducted at the University
of California in San Francisco, and published
in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The 608 subjects who had coronary heart
disease were evaluated via blood tests to
see how much Omega-3 fatty acids were in
their blood (DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Those who
had high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in
the blood had a slower rate of telomere
shortening, translating to a reversal of
the aging process by five years. The exact
mechanism that slows the shortening of the
telomeres is not known, but it is suspected
that it relates to oxidative stress or to
increased action of the enzyme telomerase
that is stimulated by the Omega-3 fatty
acids in the blood.
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