Do you take omega-3 supplements, those yellow fish oil capsules that are everywhere? You can use them to delay the aging of your body.
In a new study from Ohio State University, researchers have found that a high daily dose of an omega-3 supplement can help slow the effects of aging. How much is a high dose? About 2.5 grams of fatty acids, twice more than the most common commercial supplements.
In the study, 138 research participants, ages 40 to 85, took 2.5 grams or 1.25 grams of omega-3s each day, or a placebo containing a blend of oils that represented the typical daily intake.
The results show that supplements that contained 2.5 grams of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, the highest dose tested, were the ones that best helped the body resist the damaging effects of stress.
The mechanism by which omega-3 protects the body is to limit the damage caused by stressful events. People who took omega-3 supplements produced less cortisol, the stress hormone, and lower levels of the pro-inflammatory protein interleukin 6 during a stressful event.
What stressful event? The researchers used the Trier social stress test, which consists of a mock job interview in which people have to give a five-minute presentation and solve artyte operations under the gaze of a severe court.
Only the highest dose of omega-3, 2.5 grams, helped reduce cortisol by an average of 19% and IL-6 by 33%, respectively.
The supplements increased what the researchers call stress resilience – reducing damage during stress and, following acute stress, produced sustained anti-inflammatory activity and protection of cellular components that deteriorate as a result of aging.
The possible anti-aging effects were considered especially striking because they occurred in healthy but also sedentary, overweight and middle-aged people, all of them characteristics that could lead to an increased risk of accelerated aging.
The results suggest that omega-3 supplementation is a relatively simple change that could have a positive effect in breaking the chain between stress and negative health effects.
The researchers also suggested that by reducing stress-related inflammation, omega-3s might help break the connection between repeated stress and depression symptoms. Previous research has suggested that people with a greater inflammatory reaction to a stressor may develop more depressive symptoms over time.
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