A Journal of the American Medical Association study found that fish oils slowed down DNA shortening (telomere) that is now linked to biological aging. Research has known for quite a while that fish intake is associated with longer survival in patients with coronary heart disease. The particular way fish oil provides this benefit was not known.
Researchers at the University of South Dakota set out to determine if fish oil had affects our genes.
Our DNA is divided into chromosomes that exist in every cell of our body. They contain genes, the primary components that regulates our cells. Each one exists in the form of a “X”, and at the end is a very small structure, a telomere that protects the DNA’s form, and keeps it spiraled together. The telomeres are now considered to be biological aging markers. Over time, as we “age,” they become shorter and less effective.
608 patients in California, with stable heart disease participated in this study that began in 2000 and was concluded in 2009. Their average length of participation was 6 years. The study found those with the lowest fish oil levels had the shortest telomere length, and the opposite for those with the highest. In that group, the higher level of fish oil appeared to protect the deterioration of their telomeres and healthier chromosomes.