By now, you’ve probably heard that omega-3 fish oil is extremely beneficial for the heart, especially for those already suffering from heart disease. But did you know that in general, taking fish oil might increase your life expectancy?
According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, heart disease patients with the highest blood levels of omega-3s appear to age more slowly than those with the lowest levels.
Researchers from the University of California observed and analyzed more than 600 men suffering from coronary artery disease. Participants blood samples were evaluated for omega-3 levels at the beginning of the study. The researchers also isolated DNA from the blood to measure a marker of biological age by the length of telomeres.
Telomeres are structures at the ends of chromosomes that protect them from deterioration. Past studies suggest that the longer telomeres are, the greater their damage-repairing ability is. When it comes to heart disease, shorter telomeres mean a greater risk of bad outcomes.
Over a follow-up period of 6 years, researchers found that the telomeres of patients with the lowest blood levels of omega-3 had shortened 2.6 times faster than the patients with the highest omega-3 levels. Their biological aging rate also went up.
While taking fish oil certainly lowers one’s risk of cardiovascular complications, researchers can’t yet say whether high omega-3 levels can help slow aging for those without heart disease. Further research is definitely needed to explore the findings of this study, but fish oil does seem to demonstrate a protective effect on the biological clock!