They say you can’t stop aging. And I say maybe that’s true — but you certainly can slow it down.
Cutting-edge research has found what just may be the fountain of youth for some of the most critical cells in the body — and the best news of all is that you may already be getting the life-extending benefits right now if you’re taking fish oil.
And if you’re not, you might want to get started.
The new study looks at the effects of the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil on the immune cells of the body. Like the rest of the cells in your body, immune cells constantly replicate and then die off — but each time they do, there’s one difference in the new cell: A little piece of DNA at the end of the chromosomes — think of it as a little cap — gets just a little bit shorter.
They’re called telomeres, and when they get too short, you might say your time is getting short as well. Shorter telomeres are usually accompanied by a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, and even death itself.
But in the new study, 106 overweight but otherwise healthy adults in their middle ages or older were given either 1.25 grams a day of omega-3 fatty acids, 2.5 grams a day of those same fatty acids or a placebo.
And amazingly, after four months, the telomeres in the patients who got the omega-3s didn’t simply shrink less. They didn’t even stop shrinking.
They actually grew longer.
It’s like getting more time on the clock of life.
At the same time those telomeres grew, two other things happened that appear to be related. First, the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the bodies improved. And second, inflammation fell by between 10 and 12 percent.
Meanwhile, inflammation actually shot up by 36 percent in patients who took a placebo.
That’s almost certainly because excess omega-6 fatty acids can cause inflammation levels to rise. It’s generally not a problem if you keep a balance between omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3s — but most people don’t have anything close to a balance.
While you can safely get between two and three times as much omega-6 as you do omega-3, many people get between 15 and 20 times the omega-6.
As far as balance goes, that’s like a seesaw with a mouse on one side and a hippo on the other.
So as a result of that imbalance, inflammation levels rise and those telomeres shrink — but if the new study holds true, fish oil could fix both problems at once by restoring that critical omega balance.
Of course, omega-3 fatty acids can also do so much more than that. They can also help slash the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and heart failure.
In one new study of 20,000 male doctors, men who ate fish more than once a month had a 30 percent lower risk of heart failure than those who rarely or never ate fish.
Omega-3s can also help fight off everything from dementia to gum disease. They’re that important — and that powerful.
Don’t wait for more research on this. You need omega-3s, and — just as importantly — you need to restore the balance between omega-3s and omega-6s. If you don’t have a steady fish habit, start taking a high-quality omega-3 supplement ASAP.
Time is getting short.
Dr. Mark Stengler