Both groups taking the Omega-3 fatty acids showed a 15% decrease in oxidative stress F2 isoprostanes, which are blood markers for free-radical cellular damage. Interleukin-6, a blood marker for pro-inflammatory cytokines, was 10-12% lower than those taking the placebo.
The lengthening of DNA telomeres in the immune cells was also noted in the groups taking the Omega-3 fatty acids. Telomeres are short DNA fragment “caps” at the end of DNA strands which protect chromosomes from deteriorating or fusing to neighboring chromosomes. This has a large impact on cellular aging, as shorter telomeres are related to age-related diseases and early death.
The telomeres shorten every time a cell divides which limits the number of divisions, thereby setting a limit on a cell’s lifespan. Organs begin to deteriorate as more cells die off. Shorter telomeres are related to an increase in cancer, increased risks of degenerative diseases, and earlier death.
The greatest telomere lengthening was seen among those with the lowest Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio. Possible benefits of high Omega-3s are seen in the prevention of cancer, reversal of the aging process, and the prevention of many degenerative diseases of aging such as heart and cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, along with improvement in inflammatory disorders such as arthritis.
While Omega-3 fatty acids may not be the fountain of youth, they are a useful nutritional intervention in reducing the triad of inflammation, oxidative stress, and immune cell aging which are the forerunners of many degenerative health
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