As you may know already, I wrote a book on telomeres back in 2010 called the The Immortality Edge.
While this was a ‘telomere centric’ book, it did focus on all kinds of things to help keep those biologic time clocks ticking. In spite of criticism, I maintained (and still do) that supplementation was necessary to achieve optimal levels of certain naturally occurring compounds in your body at a level that would actually impact disease and the aging process all at once.
There have been some really idiotic releases on the internet in to the usual suspects.
One recent concept that gets repeated every so often is the “fish oil no good for heart disease” crap.
While I jokingly and repetitively say, “Fish oil no good for heart disease” on Facebook every time a positive article comes out, I thought I would show you some studies just to back up my words.
My personal favorite was a multi-center trial done in Italy, called the GISSI Prevenzione or GISSI-P for short. This one did not get a lot of play in the US but it is actually the source for a lot of great info on cardiac disease and fish oil.
What they found:
“Modest dose omega-3 fatty acid has been shown in GISSI-P (11,324 patients, follow-up 3.5 years) to produce a reduction in sudden death of 45%, and in cardiac death of 35%, acting probably via an anti-arrhythmic effect. In another study called JELIS (18,645 patients, follow-up 4.6 years), high dose omega-3 given to Japanese patients on a high fish diet and already on statin treatment produced further benefit with a 19% reduction of nonfatal cardiovascular outcomes.”
Now as you can imagine, their version of “High Dose” and mine are not the same and once again they did not do one of the most important tests you can – the Omega6/3 ratio.
But they still got some great results as you can see. One number left out above was “all-cause mortality” which basically means the number of people dying from anything. Twenty-eight percent fewer people died when on omega 3’s.
I recently had a conversation with my friend Dr Tom Gilhooly in Scotland about the omega 3 test. Like me, Tom feels that this might be one of the most important things you can test. Tom is a lot more “violent” in bludgeoning his colleagues about the need for this than I am. He laughed when I told him I try to work with doctors who still use statins because I know that fish oil will improve the outcomes and improve the tolerability. Tom is not a fan of statins at all and does not even bother with this approach.
Thanks to Tom, I will soon be speaking to a real legend in the field, Dr William Lands, who was really the person who looked at the Omega6/3 ratios and tied them to reduction in heart disease.
Now we also know they seem to benefit congestive heart failure, which is a very different animal than vascular heart disease (heart attack).
Why focus on heart disease? Well it’s still the number one killer by far in Western Society and if we got people’s fish oil omega 3 levels up we could potentially prevent 250,000 deaths per year and reduce hospitalizations by a much larger number.
This would save untold billions for our health care system.
In an article called “Dietary approaches that delay age-related diseases,” fish oil was ranked against other interventions for its effectiveness based on the existing evidence a few years ago.
Some of the other interventions included calorie restriction, fruit and vegetable consumption, plant fatty acids and various vitamins including B and C. The diseases included Age Related Macular Degeneration, Alzheimer’s, Heart disease, and more.
Taken as whole fish oil won hands down and that was thousands of studies ago.
To me Fish Oil still remains one of the most cost effective anti-aging “drugs” out there, especially when you look at the effects in GISSI-P and other studies. No single drug comes close.
What is the lesson?
Take your fish oil and take enough to get your ratio into a good range. Once you do you should only have to do the test once a year.
A small price to pay for all those wonderful things!
P.S. While I can’t say fish oil lengthens telomeres, I am sure it protects them based on studies done in the past two years, all of which I have written about in the past.