Omega-3 supplements may slow cellular ageing

Do you take omega-3 supplements?

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for your health, especially your heart, lungs, blood vessels, immune and endocrine system and, because your body can’t produce omega-3, it is necessary to either get it from your diet or from supplements.

The good news is that a new study suggests that in the right doses, omega-3 supplements can help fight the effects of cellular ageing.

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The research found that a high daily dose of an omega-3 supplement could help slow the effects of ageing by suppressing damage and boosting cell protection during and after a stressful event.

The research team from Ohio State University found that daily supplements that contained 2.5g of omega-3 fatty acids, the highest dose tested, were the best at helping the body resist the damaging effects of stress.

Test subjects were exposed to a stressful event in a laboratory setting, with a placebo group receiving no omega-3 supplements, while others were tested after taking either 1.25g or 2.5g of omega-3 supplements daily.

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After four months on the supplements, the 138 research participants, age 40-85, took a 20-minute test combining a speech and a maths subtraction task that is known to reliably produce an inflammatory stress response. 

Participants who were taking omega-3 supplements produced less of the stress hormone cortisol and lower levels of a pro-inflammatory protein during the stressful event.

Also, levels of protective compounds sharply declined in the placebo group after the stressful event, but there were no such decreases detected in people taking omega-3s.

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The supplements contributed to what the researchers call stress resilience: reduction of harm during stress and, after acute stress, sustained anti-inflammatory activity and protection of cell components that shrink as a consequence of ageing. 

Only the highest dose of omega-3s helped suppress damage during the stressful event when compared to the placebo group, lowering cortisol and a pro-inflammatory protein by an average of 19 per cent and 33 per cent respectively.

The potential anti-ageing effects were considered particularly striking because they occurred in people who were healthy but also sedentary, overweight and middle-aged – all characteristics that could lead to a higher risk for accelerated ageing.

“The findings suggest that omega-3 supplementation is one relatively simple change people could make that could have a positive effect at breaking the chain between stress and negative health effects,” said lead author Annelise Madison.

“The fact that our results were dose dependent, and we’re seeing more impact with the higher omega-3 dose, would suggest that this supports a causal relationship.”

The 2.5g daily dose is a much higher dose than usual, but Ms Maddison explained that the study participants showed no signs of ill effects related to taking the supplements.

What health supplements do you take daily? Do you take omega-3 supplements? Are you concerned about the effects of ageing? What other tactics do you deploy to fight the effects of ageing?

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Written by Ben



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