Consuming enough omega-3 fatty acids from the diet and supplements may have an influence on cellular activity that will slow down the aging process.
Omega−3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that are found in foods. The 3 types of omega 3 fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA found in fish oil and α-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in plant oils. Some individuals may also supplement omega 3’s from softgels or oils. The problem with the American diet is that the ratio between omega 6 fatty acids to omega 3’s is too high. The objective is to increase the consumption of omega 3’s.
It all started with the Inuit people that inhabit the Arctic regions of Greenland, Alaska and Canada. They were hunters for their food, which included large amounts of fish, whales and seals high in fat. These people had few heart problems, which led Danish researchers to study and find the amazing health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids found in fish. The research continues to show powerful health rewards.
Studying Omega 3’s through nutrigenomic research has shown that they have an impact on improving health and increasing lifespan
More in depth nutrigenomic research has found that omega 3s may affect cellular activity by stimulating sirtuin proteins that stimulate genes (Vanden JP, 2012). Nutrigenomics is considered to be a tool to evaluate the influence of diet on longevity and health.
Nutrigenomics is the study between diet and human genetics. There is investigative research that is being performed to study nutrition, biochemistry, physiology, genomics and other types of science to explain the interactions between nutrients and genes at the cell level (Sales NMR et al, 2014).
Sirtuins are proteins that are involved in controlling cellular function and help keep cells operating in a healthy manner (Grabowska W et al, 2017). It is known that particular food compounds activate the sirtuin network to promote longevity (Evangelakou Z et al, 2019). There are several sirtuins active in the body.
It is believed that they help to delay the aging process and help to improve health. (Grabowska W et al, 2017). They are involved in cell functions and assist with energy efficiency and stress resistance. Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) is involved in the control of cellular function.
Omega-3s have demonstrated to activate AMPK/SIRT1 pathway providing a way to help the body diminish inflammation (Xue B et al, 2012).
5′ adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an enzyme involved in regulating cell energy.
Omega 3’s may increase lifespan by having a positive effect on chromosomes
One study was performed with healthy, overweight, middle age to older adults that were administered with omega-3 supplements for 4 months (Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Epel ES, Blackburn E, 2013).
The results showed that by increasing the intake of omega 3’s, improving the omega 6/omega 3 ratio of fatty acids increased the length of immune cell’s telomeres. It is hard to imagine that one essential nutrient alone would have that type of impact.
Our chromosomes are made up of DNA. Telomeres are the segments found on the tips of chromosomes and are known to shorten with age.
The study suggested that the improved ratio of omega 6’s and 3’s can have a major effect on cell aging.
Consuming more omega 3’s can have a beneficial effect on cellular activity including the inflammatory response pathway, oxidative stress, and the aging of immune cells.
In summary, omega 3 fatty acids have numerous health benefits. They have been involved in nutrigenomic research and have shown to have an effect on cellular activity and stimulate sirtuins. Also, omega 3’s increase chromosomal telomere length, which may extend lifespan.