The benefits of omega-3s are endless, but more and more research is coming out in regards to how they may extend the life of telomeres. Why is this important you may ask? Telomeres are the caps at the end of chromosomes. Early death and age-related disease have been linked to shorter telomeres. Although telomeres typically shorten with aging, shortening is not inevitable and telomeres can also lengthen. Telomere length is associated with lifestyle behaviors. For instance, women who are obese or smoke cigarettes suffer greater loss of telomere length, with a corresponding reduction in life span.1,2
There was a recent study that was published that measured telomere length in humans given EPA/DHA fish oil supplements. The results showed that reduced plasma levels of omega-6 fats coupled with increased omega-3s resulted in an increase in telomere lengths.3 The scientists attributed this telomere length increase to reductions in inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress brought on by higher levels of omega-3s in relationship to pro-inflammatory omega-6s. In this human study where telomeres were lengthened, scientists used between 1,250 and 2,500 mg of EPA/DHA fish oil daily to boost omega-3 plasma levels in relation to omega-6s.3
We created the Athlete’s Best Premium Omega-3 Plus supplement after our research showed that most omega-3 ‘fish oils’ on the market were not doing a proper job at raising the users omega-3 plasma levels. The omega-3 fatty acids are attached to phospholipids within our formula, which allow the nutrients to pass directly into the cells, making it much more bioavailable than typical fish oils. By taking just two softgels a day of the highest quality omega-3 supplement, and reducing your intake of omega-6 fatty acids, your telomeres may extend as well.
Additional information –
Some research suggests that too many omega-6 fats can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases. This research is not conclusive, but for most people, the amount of omega-6 fats should be reduced, and the amount of omega-3s should be increased.
A few omega-6 fats to avoid include vegetable oils such as corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower, and grape seed oil. Shortening, margarine, and canola oil are also very high in omega-6s. Coconut oil and olive oil should be your main sources of cooking oils, and don’t be afraid of ‘grass fed’ butter.
- Valdes AM, Andrew T, Gardner JP, et al. Obesity, cigarette smoking, and telomere length in women. Lancet. 2005 Aug 20- 26;366(9486):662-4.
- McGrath M, Wong JY, Michaud D, Hunter DJ, De Vivo I. Telomere length, cigarette smoking, and bladder cancer risk in men and women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Apr;16(4):815-9.
- Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Epel ES, Belury MA, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids, oxidative stress, and leukocyte telomere length: A randomized< controlled trial. Brain Behav Immun. 2012 Sep 23.