Do omega-3 fatty acids help stave off aging? A new study suggests the answer may be yes.
Previous research has shown that heart disease patients who get a lot of omega-3 fatty acids in their diets do better than those who don't. So Ramin Farzaneh-Far of the University of California, San Franciso and colleagues looked at structures known as telomeres, which are the ends of chromosomes and previously have been linked to aging. Every time a cell divides, these structures get a little shorter. Evidence has been accumulating that the faster telomeres unravel, the shorter people may live.
In the new study, the researchers examined the telomeres in white blood cells called leukocytes in 608 patients with heart disease. Over five years, the telomeres of those who had the lowest levels of two omega-3 fatty acids known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) shortened faster than those with the highest levels.
While more research is needed, the findings support the idea that omega-3 fatty acids may help people live longer.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fishes. Scientists suspect these fatty acids may reduce inflammation, prevent blood clots, lower blood pressure and have other benefits..
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