Telomeres are structures found at the end of our chromosomes. They help protect genetic
Shorter telomeres have been associated with poor health behaviors, age-related diseases, and
Telomere length can for that reason be one way to estimate how fast we age. As we age
telomeres get shorter. If we can slow down the process that shortens the telomeres or even
better, lengthens them, we should be better off.
Telomere length is regulated by the enzyme telomerase and is linked to exposure to
proinflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress.
The following study investigated whether omega 3 fatty acid supplementation could affect
telomere length, telomerase, and oxidative stress (Kiecolt-Glaser, JK, et al., 2013).
The participants were 106 healthy sedentary overweight middle-aged and older adults who
received either 2.5g or 1.25g per day of omega 3 supplements, or placebo capsules that had
the proportions of the fatty acids in a typical American diet.
The results showed that the omega 3 fatty acids significantly lowered oxidative stress.
The researchers also found that telomere length increased with decreasing omega 6 fatty
acid to omega 3 fatty acid ratio.
This suggests that a lower omega 6 fatty acid to omega 3 fatty acid ratio can impact cell aging.
Most people in the western world ingest too much omega 6 fat from vegetable oils and too little
omega 3 fatty acids.
It is the ratio that is really important, because omega 6 fat converts to arachidonic acid, a
precursor for inflammation, while the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA reduce inflammation.
The easiest way to increase the intake of EPA and DHA is by taking omega 3 fish oil capsules.
It is however important that the fish oil is processed correctly to remove toxins since all fish is
now more or less contaminated.
Fish oil in the form of triglycerides is more stable and also better absorbed than the more
a common form of ethyl ester which is cheaper to manufacture.
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Epel ES, Belury MA, Andridge R, Lin J, Glaser R, Malarkey WB, Hwang BS,
Blackburn E. Omega-3 fatty acids, oxidative stress, and leukocyte telomere length: A
randomized controlled trial.Brain Behav Immun. 2013 Feb;28:16-24.
Most people that eat a western diet can benefit from increasing the intake of Omega 3 fatty acids since their diet usually contains too much Omega 6 from vegetable oils and saturated fat from dairy and other animal sources. Research has shown many health benefits from Omega 3 fat intake. Several studies are showing evidence that the protective benefits of fish oil prevent death from heart disease
The anti-inflammatory effects of Omega 3 fatty acids are well known. Several studies on rheumatoid arthritis using supplements with EPA/DHA, which is found in fish oil, have shown to decrease morning stiffness and reduce the number of painful and swollen joints. Fish oil has also shown to help in the treatment of colitis