Booster Shots

Oddities, musings and news from the health world

« Previous Post | Booster Shots Home | Next Post »

Omega-3 fatty acids may protect against cell aging

January 19, 2010 |  1:00 pm

FishOilResearchers from UC San Francisco reported today that people with heart disease who had high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had a lower rate of shortening of telomere length--a marker for aging--compared with similar heart patients who had the lowest levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

A telomere is a structure at the end of a chromosome that dictates the replication and stability of the chromosome. Shortening of the telomere means the cell is aging. Researchers have been examining various substances, such as vitamins, to see if they have an impact on slowing the telomere shortening rate. Meanwhile, other studies have demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to heart health. The American Heart Assn. recommends increased intake of oily fish, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, or the use of omega-3 fatty acid supplements for the prevention and treatment of heart disease.

Researchers don't know how omega-3 fatty acids may affect telomeres. But, they wrote: "Although the mechanisms involved remain incompletely understood, there is increasing evidence that omega-3 fatty acids exert direct effects on aging and age-related diseases."

The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn.

-- Shari Roan

Photo credit: Beatrice de Gea  /  Los Angeles Times

Post a comment
If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate.
Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Comments (1)

JAMA. 2010;303(3):250-257: Association of Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels With Telomeric Aging in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease

It is my hypothesis that DHEA was selected by evolution because it optimizes replication and transcription of DNA. Therefore, all tissues will be affected by the reduction in DHEA which naturally begins around age twenty, reaching very low levels in old age. Low DHEA will be involved in coronary artery disease.

It has been determined that docosahexaenoic acid positively affects levels of DHEA in a "concentration-dependent" manner (J Vet Med Sci. 2007 Jan;69(1):49-54). I wrote a paper explaining the connection of DHEA and telomere length in 2004: .

I suggest these findings may be explained by increases in DHEA and that the benefits of fish oil, that is, docosahexaenoic acid, are due to increases in DHEA.

James Michael Howard, Fayetteville, Arkansas, U.S.A.


The Latest | news as it happens

Recent Posts
test |  March 15, 2011, 4:00 pm »
Booster Shots has moved |  July 12, 2010, 6:02 pm »