Fort Lauderdale, FL (PRWEB) October 08, 2012
Telomeres are a hot topic in science today. These tiny segments of DNA act as caps at the end of chromosomes; they can be thought of as the protective plastic at the end of a shoelace. If that plastic comes off the shoelace unravels, the lace frays and pieces of the frayed lace break off shortening the shoelace. In much the same way, every time a cell divides, it loses a little bit of its DNA at the ends. Over time, telomeres are known to shorten in many types of cells as a consequence of aging. Their tendency to shorten is associated with such age-related problems as heart disease and early mortality.
In the Ohio State study, published in the journal Brain Behavior and Immunity, 106 adults, average age 51 years, who were either overweight or obese and lived sedentary lives, received either 2.5 grams or 1.25 grams of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids or a placebo containing a mix of oils representing a typical American's daily intake. The researchers excluded people taking medications to control mood, cholesterol and blood pressure as well as vegetarians, patients with diabetes, smokers, those routinely taking fish oil, people who got more than two hours of vigorous exercise each week and those whose body mass index was either below 22.5 or above 40.
After four months the participants who took omega-3 supplements altered their ratio of fatty acid consumption and showed lengthened telomeres in their white blood cells. Lengthening of telomeres in immune system cells was more prevalent in people who substantially improved the ratio of omega-3s to omega-6 fatty acids in their diet.
The researchers also noticed that Omega-3 supplementation reduced oxidative stress, caused by excessive free radicals in the blood, by about 15 percent compared to effects seen in the placebo group. In a separate research paper investigating inflammation recently published from this study, the researchers reported that omega-3 fatty acid supplements lowered inflammation in this same group of adults.
The researchers noted that Omega-3 supplementation alone doesn't tell the whole story of how this dietary change can affect health. The ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids that are present in a person's blood is a very important factor.
Omega-6 fatty acids come from processed foods, corn additives, and vegetable oils. While research has suggested that these pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats can be beneficial, the typical American diet tends to be too high in omega-6 fatty acids and too low in anti-inflammatory omega-3s. Some speculate that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is as far out of balance as 25:1. Researchers tend to agree that for maximum benefit, this ratio should be lowered to 4-to-1, or even 2-to-1. The elevated ratio tends to saddle the body with inflammation.
Both groups of participants who took omega-3 supplements showed, on average, lengthening of telomeres compared to overall telomere effects in the placebo group, but the relationship could have been attributed to chance. However, when the researchers analyzed the participants' omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in relationship to telomere lengthening, a lower ratio was clearly associated with lengthened telomeres.
The researchers also measured levels of oxidative stress, which is linked to a number of conditions that include heart disease and neurodegenerative disorders. Both omega-3 groups showed an average overall 15 percent reduction in oxidative stress compared to effects seen in the placebo group.
When the scientists revisited their earlier inflammation findings, they also found that decreases in an inflammatory marker in the blood called interleukin-6 (IL-6) were associated with telomere lengthening. In their earlier paper on omega-3s and inflammation, they reported that omega-3 supplements lowered IL-6 by 10 to 12 percent, depending on the dose. By comparison, those taking a placebo saw an overall 36 percent increase in IL-6 by the end of the study leading researchers to suggest that inflammation is what's driving the changes in the telomeres.
The researchers concluded that the telomere finding is provocative in that it suggests the possibility that omega-3 supplements might actually make a difference in aging.
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Journal Brain Behavior and Immunity
Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation in healthy middle-aged and older adults: A randomized controlled trial,
2012; 26 (6): 988 DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2012.05.011
About Great HealthWorks, Inc.
Great HealthWorks, founded in 2003, is a global manufacturer and distributor of one-of-a-kind, natural products. Great HealthWorks, the makers of Omega XL®, an all-natural, highly purified marine lipid extract from the green-lipped mussel (Perna Canaliculus) known as PCSO-524™. This patented marine lipid complex comes exclusively from the pristine waters of the Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand, and contains 30 healthy fatty acids. Great HealthWorks corporate headquarters and distribution center are in Hollywood, Florida. To find out more about Great HealthWorks, visit http://www.GreatHealthWorks.com. And for more information about the benefits of Omega XL, visit http://www.OmegaXL.com. Join the conversation: http://www.facebook.com/myomegaxl