Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "
Human study: omega-3 fatty acids delay molecular ageing
The more omega-3 fatty acids you have in your blood, the slower your cells age, cardiologists from San Francisco General Hospital conclude in a study published in JAMA. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA lengthen the time it takes for the telomeres in your DNA to become shorter.
The figure above shows the relative decrease in telomere length. The first quartile represents the 25 percent of the test subjects with the least omega-3 fatty acids in their blood. The fourth quartile represents the 25 percent of test subjects with the most omega-3 fatty acids in their blood.
The figure below shows that the absolute decrease is almost the same.
A possible mechanism is that omega-3 fatty acids build themselves into cell membranes. Here they weaken inflammatory reactions and stimulate the cell’s production of endogenous antioxidants. The researchers believe that these might be life-extending mechanisms. Another possibility is that omega-3 fatty acids activate the enzyme telomerase. This enzyme maintains telomere length for longer. Another human study has shown that men who take 3 g omega-3 fatty acids daily – and make a number of positive lifestyle changes – have greater amounts of more active telomerase. [Lancet Oncol. 2008 Nov;9(11):1048-57.]
According to test-tube studies omega-3 fatty acids work in exactly the opposite way in cancer cells. Omega-3 fatty acids inhibit telomerase in cancer cells.