It has been known for years that omega-3 fatty acids (found in certain types of oily fish) help to stave off heart disease, though the reasons why have been largely unknown until now. A team at the University of California in San Francisco have recently published a study which suggests a direct correlation between omega-3 fatty acids in the blood and an increase in telomere lifespan, which is known to stave off cellular aging and disease.
The study followed 608 patients with stable coronary artery disease over an average period of six years, and found that the presence of these fatty acids may protect telomeres from shortening, therefore decreasing the likelihood of mutated cells and heart disease. “The main result from our study is that patients with high levels of omega-3 fish oil in the blood appear to have a slowing of the biological aging process over five years as measured by the change in telomere length,” said Dr. Ramin Farzaneh-Far, who led the study. This may be due the fact that fish oil’s presence causes an increase in the production of an enzyme which lengthens and repairs shortened telomeres.