Research has now shown that Omega-3 fatty acid benefits 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.
JAMA Research on Omega-3 and Aging
Another Omega-3 Fatty acid benefit is the effect on telomers. 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.
Omega-3 Health Benefits
Omega-3 fatty acid benefits include anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting ability. They help restore and retain brain function and are used in anti-aging medicine to aid memory and brain focus. Fatty acids lower blood pressure, slow macular degeneration, treat depression, increase joint flexibility, and lower triglycerides. Omega-3 fatty acids can only be added to the blood by eating plants and animals that contain these necessary nutrients. They do not naturally occur in the body, though they are essential for the function of many tissues in the body, especially the brain, heart and eyes.
Fish Oil Omega-3s
The American Heart Association recommends fish oil as a source of Omega-3 fatty acids. The population in Japan and Greenland are known to eat a great deal of Omega-3 containing fish, and both of those nations have the world`s lowest rate of heart disease. Though fish oils have been recommended as the best form of Omega-3s, there are vegetable alternatives. Other sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, leafy greens, legumes, and seaweed. Chia seeds have a high concentration of Omega-3.