Fish oils may hold the key to longer and healthier life, claim
They say omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil may have a direct effect
on extending the lifespan of cells.
Their study is the first to link the oils – either from fish or
supplements – with the body’s ability to resist premature ageing.
The ‘elixir of life’ discovery was made in heart disease patients,
who are already advised to increase their fish intake to ward off
repeat heart attacks.
Scientists from the University of California, San Francisco, looked
at the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on 608 outpatients with heart
They found higher levels of omega-3 slowed down damage to DNA contained
in telomeres – tiny ‘caps’ on the ends of chromosomes which help
protect against inflammation and other ageing processes.
Having longer telomeres is a sign of being biologically younger
and also of being healthier.
As people age, their telomeres get shorter and they become more
susceptible to certain illnesses.
Scientists believe this process is at the heart of many age-related
diseases, and may even place a final limit on human lifespan.
Nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton, speaking on behalf of the Health
Supplements Information Service, said: ‘If this link between high
omega-3 fatty acid levels and reduced ageing is confirmed in other
studies, this has important implications for intakes of omega 3