On each of our genes there is a "protective cap" at the ends of each chromosome. These caps are comprised of a certain sequence of DNA. The scientific name for these caps is "Telomeres."
Increasing studies have shown that the length of the telomeres is correlated with cellular aging. Specifically the shorter the telomere, the older the cell.
Because of this, telomere length is now being used in scientific research as a marker of our biological age. This biological age combines our lifetime burden of genetic factors with environmental stressors that have affected our genes. This biological age is independent of our chronological age.
In addition there is a very strong association between short telomeres and increased cardiovascular death, which is very important since heart disease is the number one cause of death in our country.
Studies also show that telomeres can lengthen as well as shorten.
In a new study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association the authors M.A. Whooley and others, looked at patients with known coronary (heart) disease. They measured the patients' blood levels for the two major fatty acids that are in fish oil, DHA and EPA. They then took blood regularly over 5 years from the patients, and followed the rate of their telomeres shortening over those five years.
The findings are quite remarkable in that there was an inverse relationship between the patient's blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and the rate of their telomeres shortening over the five years. The patients with the lowest fatty acid levels had the shortest telomeres, meaning their biological age was higher.
This study is important because it is beginning to show us the mechanism of action of how essential fatty acids benefit our health.
My friend and colleague, Brian Peskin believes that a certain ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, derived from vegetarian sources, is even more beneficial than fish oils. You can take a look at his website if you would like more information on his studies.
In any case, this is exciting information that taking these oils will help extend our healthy lifespan and affect our biological age.
Do you take oils? Are you taking vegetarian oils or fish oils? What benefits have you seen if any of them taking them? Please let me know.