Is the fountain of youth actually a nutritional supplement? Researchers at Ohio State University think so.
They found that taking omega-3 supplements (a.k.a. fish oil) can help slow the bodyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s aging process by lengthening telomeres that often shorten with age. Telomeres are small DNA segments in white blood cells that shorten over time as the result of aging. They act like caps at the ends of chromosomes, so if they shorten, the DNA can unravel. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s major bad news for your cells.
Another recent publication from this study showed that omega-3 supplements lowered inflammation levels in the same subjects. Researchers believe that the less inflammation, the better for the preservation of telomeres.
This one-two punch of lengthened telomeres and reduced inflammation could potentially decrease the risk for other major diseases associated with aging like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and AlzheimerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s disease, study authors say. Plus, 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.
So, while omega-3s wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t prevent wrinkles or other physical signs of aging, they could help you live a longer, happier life.
How Much Do You Need?
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best to get nutrients from whole food sources first, but if you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t eat at least two 3.5-ounce servings of fatty fish per week, then itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a good idea to take a fish oil supplement.
In this study, participants took either a placebo or a supplement containing 2.5 grams or 1.25 grams of active omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids with 7 to 1 ratio of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for four months. Just be sure to take less than 3 grams a day since fish oil can thin your blood.
Foods Rich in Omega-3s
Want to eat your way young? There are plenty of options. Fish is the most well-known source, but here are a few others.
| Fatty Fish |
|Nut and Plant Oils |
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Walnut oil
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Canola Oil
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Soybean Oil
|Nuts and Seeds|
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Chia seeds
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Pine nuts