Omega-3s May Slow Important Effect of Aging
Imagine for a moment if you could put anything into slow motion.
Maybe you’d use your power on a knuckleball pitch, just so you could see the ball’s erratic path to the plate. Or slow down a cheetah, so you could watch the poetry of the world’s fastest land animal in exquisite detail.
Or maybe you’d use your power on the aging process.
Believe it or not, a new study from Ohio State University hints that you can come pretty close to doing this. But it’s not with magic… it’s with good old fish oil.
Fish oil has become the “multi-tool” of nutrients. It seems to boost health in more ways than you can count. And now the Ohio State team has added one more to the list. In a moment, I’ll tell you what they discovered. But first, some important background.
I’ve written to you before about telomeres. These are tiny “caps” on the end of your chromosomes. They protect your genetic information when your cells divide.
But each time a cell divides, it’s telomeres get a little bit shorter. Eventually, they’re too short to protect your genes, and the cell stops dividing and dies. When this happens to a lot of cells, you start to see the signs of aging.
A few nutrients are known to promote longer telomeres. Nutrients such as vitamin C. Now we can add Omega-3s to the list. At least, the Omega-3s found in fish oil.
And we’re not talking about a study done on rats or mice here. The Ohio State researchers used human subjects. So the results of this study apply directly to the rest of us.
But there’s a twist… and I’ll get to that in a moment.
As you may know, about two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. An awful lot of those people still enjoy fairly good health. But they’re at higher risk for a host of health problems than their thinner peers.
So this study looked at fairly healthy, but overweight, adults. The 138 volunteers were all middle-aged or older. And they didn’t get a lot of exercise.
The researchers started giving some of them the two main Omega-3s found in fish oil. The rest of the group received a look-alike placebo.
After four months, the Omega-3 group showed a 10% – 12% drop in interleukin-6 – a chemical linked to an increased risk of heart trouble and other health problems. The placebo group had a 36% increase in the same chemical.
Among the other tests the researchers performed, they checked the length of the subject’s white blood cell telomeres. The subjects who took the Omega-3s had longer telomeres.
But when they looked at the ratio of Omega-3s to Omega-6s, there was an even clearer benefit. By raising the amount of Omega-3s to Omega-6s, the researchers appeared to have slowed the effects of aging on their subjects’ white blood cells.1
Now, as you can imagine, measuring something as tiny as a telomere – which is more than simply microscopic – isn’t easy. So the researchers targeted just one type of cell.
We can’t know for certain – yet – that Omega-3s have the same effect on all cells. But I know of no reason these fatty acids would target just one type of cell.
Fish oil capsules and cod liver oil are great ways to boost your intake of the Omega-3s used in this study. And to lower your intake of Omega-6s, try eating less vegetable oils. (Olive oil is an exception.)
But focus more on getting your Omega-3 intake up. The researchers found that increasing Omega-3 levels naturally lowered Omega-6 levels… and it’s that lower ratio that provided the biggest benefit.
Yours in good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K., et al, “Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation in healthy middle-aged and older adults: A randomized controlled trial,” Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. Aug 2012; 26(6): 988–995.