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Research has shown that decreasing overall inflammation in the body with omega-3 oils helps decrease overall pain (Kremer et al., The Lancet, 1985). There have even been studies that link omega-3’s to longer lifespans. A new study in JAMA echos the latter.

Conclusion Among this cohort of patients with coronary artery disease, there was an inverse relationship between baseline blood levels of marine omega-3 fatty acids and the rate of telomere shortening over 5 years.

WSJ.com summarizes the research by saying, “heart patients with high omega-3 intake had relatively longer “telomeres,” which are stretches of DNA whose length correlates with longevity.

“What we’re demonstrating is a potentially new link between omega-3 fatty acids and the aging process,” said Ramin Farzaneh-Far, a clinical cardiologist and assistant medical professor at UCSF and San Francisco General Hospital who is the lead author of the research.  Additionally, Dr. Farzaneh-Far said, “in multiple studies, short telomere length [in white blood cells] has been shown to predict death and cardiovascular events and heart failure.” He cautioned that “it’s an open question as to whether telomere length is causal or just a marker” of cell death. But he referred to telomere shortening as “a key part of cellular aging.”

My input: There are so many reasons a diet higher in omega-3 oils is better for you (for your heart, brain, development neurologically, mental alertness, mood, and cognition). You can increase the omega-3 rich foods in your diet by eating healthy, sustainable fish.  I recommend wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, walnuts, and flax seeds.  I even like grass-fed, local beef as a source of omega 3’s. Most cows are fed corn which is pro-inflammatory and therefore lack the benefits of the omega 3.  While increasing omega 3 is important, it’s also crucial to cut the omega 6 and 9 foods (which include most processed foods such as refined sugar, grains and oils, and obese meat).