omega-3 supplementation associated with longer telomeres

A few posts ago I noted that I think telomere science is one of the most exciting areas in health and medicine–it has largely replaced the free radical/oxidative stress theory of aging, rather it has encompassed it, as oxidative stress seems to age us BY shortening our telomeres. As does inflammation, psychosocial stress, poor diet (back to inflammation), and sedentary lifestyle. So I thought it of interest that a recent study published in the journal Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity a few weeks ago (you can read the abstract here) found that supplementing a group of healthy sedentary overweight middle aged and older adults with 2 different doses of fish oil fatty acids (1/3 were given a look alike fatty acid supplement which mirrors the fatty acid composition of the American diet, which is to say it was mostly omega-6 fats), not only reduced indicators of inflammation and reduced the ratio of omega-6 to omega 3 fats measured in the blood, but they also found that as the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio went down, the length of the participants telomeres went UP (that’s a GOOD thing). It seems that the most potent natural products for actually increasing telomere length are some specific compounds present in small quantities in astragalus root, but its nice to know that good old fish oil (and likely lots of the things that are otherwise good for us) slow the rate of telomere shortening–which is another way of saying ‘slow the rate of aging’. Its also looking like if we actually can make the telomeres in our stem cells longer, that we get biologically YOUNGER…..