Omega-3 linked to younger biological age: StudyPost a comment
By Stephen Daniells, 20-Jan-2010
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco looked at the length of telomeres, DNA sequences at the end of chromosomes that shorten as cells replicate and age. The ageing and lifespan of normal, healthy cells are linked to the so-called telomerase shortening mechanism, which limits cells to a fixed number of divisions. During cell replication, the telomeres function by ensuring the cell's chromosomes do not fuse with each other or rearrange, which can lead to cancer. Elizabeth Blackburn, a telomere pioneer at the University of California San Francisco, likened telomeres to the ends of shoelaces, without which the lace would unravel. With each replication the telomeres shorten, and when the telomeres are totally consumed, the cells are destroyed (apoptosis). Previous studies have also reported that telomeres are highly susceptible to oxidative stress. Some experts have noted that telomere length may be a marker of biological ageing. “Among patients with stable 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,” wrote the researchers, led by Ramin Farzaneh-Far. “These findings raise the possibility that omega-3 fatty acids may protect against cellular aging in patients with coronary heart disease,” they added. The research adds to a large body of science supporting the potential health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly in relation to heart health. Study details Several studies have shown increased survival rates among individuals with high dietary intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids and established cardiovascular disease. The mechanisms underlying this protective effect are not well understood, according to background information in the article. The UCSF researchers looked at telomere length in blood cells of 608 outpatients with stable coronary artery disease. The length of telomeres was measured in leukocytes at the start of the study and again after 5 years. Comparing levels of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) with subsequent change in telomere length, the researchers found that individuals with the lowest average levels of DHA and EPA experienced the most rapid rate of telomere shortening, while people with the highest average blood levels experienced the slowest rate of telomere shortening. “Each 1-standard deviation increase in DHA plus EPA levels was associated with a 32 per cent reduction in the odds of telomere shortening,” wrote the authors. Commenting on the potential mechanism, Dr Farzaneh-Far and his co-workers noted that this may be linked to oxidative stress, known to drive telomere shortening. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce levels of F2-isoprostanes, a marker of systemic oxidative stress, as well as increasing levels of the antioxidant enzymes catalase and superoxide dismutase, thereby reducing oxidative stress.
Another possible mechanism may involve the enzyme telomerase. The enzyme works to maintain telomere length, and omega-3 may increase its activity. The researchers added that a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial would be necessary to definitively confirm the link between omega-3 fatty acids and cellular ageing. Multivitamins and green tea, too? The work of the UCSF scientists was limited to people with CHD, thereby limiting how general the results may be. Other studies in healthy people have already linked specific nutrients to telomere length, and subsequently a younger ‘biological age’. Recently, researchers from the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reported that telomere length was longer in regular multivitamin users in their cohort of 586 women aged between 35 and 74. The subjects did not have coronary heart disease. Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the US-based researchers noted that theirs was the “first epidemiologic study of multivitamin use and telomere length. “Regular multivitamin users tend to follow a healthy lifestyle and have a higher intake of micronutrients, which sometimes makes it difficult to interpret epidemiologic observations on multivitamin use,” they said. An association between green tea drinkers and telomere length was also reported by scientists from the Chinese University of Hong Kong last year. The telomeres of people who drank an average of three cups of tea per day were about 4.6 kilobases longer than people who drank an average of a quarter of a cup a day, reported the researchers in the British Journal of Nutrition.. This average difference in the telomere length corresponds to “approximately a difference of 5 years of life”, wrote the researchers, led by Ruth Chan. Dr Chan told NutraIngredients in August 2009 that "Chinese tea" in their study refers to both black and green tea, but added: "Our data showed that majority of Chinese tea consumed by our subjects were of green tea". Source: Journal of the American Medical Association2010, Volume 303, Issue 3, Pages 250-257“Association of Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels With Telomeric Aging in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease”Authors: R. Farzaneh-Far, J. Lin, E.S. Epel, W.S. Harris; Elizabeth H. Blackburn; Mary A. Whooley
Scots debut whey-omega-3 blend
By Shane Starling, 03-Dec-2009
Scottish omega-3 supplier, Equateq, has added to its range by blending a high-dose EPA omega-3 form with whey in a debut targeting the sports market. The company said it had chosen to employ EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) rather than DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) or any other fatty acid, because of the anti-inflammation benefits that EPA has demonstrated. The company, which was born three years ago and produces pharma-grade, high-dose omega-3 oils from its Scottish base, said the whey-omega-3 blend was capable of delivering 135mg of its sardine-derived EPA powder. Chief executive officer, Adam Kelliher, told NutraIngredients.com that the new offering would sell for, “just shy of €30 per kilogram” depending on volumes. “There is a strong interest in whey among the sports community,” he said this morning. “We’ve begun discussions with sports companies that have been very encouraging.” Equateq employs its Crystalpure technology to produce high-dose oils that can reach as high as 99 per cent. For this reason its major markets are in the pharma area and the firm is scaling up its operations to meet growing demand in this area. For the current application, it has produced an enriched triglyceride oil that is 50 per cent omega-3. This enables the lipid fraction in the blend to be reduced to 30 percent which presents formulation advantages as oxidation rates are reduced. The company is targeting breakfast shakes, as a sprinkle on food, and a cooking ingredient at low heats. At 135mg per dose, the company said recommended dosages of 500mg could be achieved with three teaspoons of the formulation. Crystalpure enables saturates and mono-unsaturates to be transformed into crystals, which facilitates, “the physical separation of the polyunsaturated stream.” Equateq splits its business between pharma and nutraceutical clients, noting its concentrations for pharma were all about being “super pure”, whereas nutra was much more about offering customised blends. Frost & Sullivan notes 24 per cent annual growth in the omega-3 sector, projecting a global market worth $1.6bn by 2014.
Omega-3 plus glucosamine ‘superior’ for joint health: Study
By Stephen Daniells, 30-Nov-2009
Combining omega-3 fatty acids with glucosamine achieves better improvements in joint health than glucosamine alone, says a new study from Germany. The study, published in the journal Advances in Therapy, is said to be the first clinical trial to employ the combination of glucosamine omega-3 fatty acids in people suffering from osteoarthritis. UK-based Seven Seas funded the study. Approximately seven million people in the UK alone are reported to have long-term health problems associated with arthritis. Around 206 million working days were lost in the UK in 1999-2000, equal to £18 billion (€26 billion) of lost productivity. Talking to NutraIngredients, lead author and president of the CRO which performed the trial, Analyze & Realize, Dr Joerg Gruenwald said: “In a randomized controlled clinical trial with 177 patients with osteoarthritis, we could prove that the combination of glucosamine sulfate and omega -3-fatty acid is superior to glucosamine alone. “Using the classical WOMAC pain score we could show 27 per cent more responders (80 per cent reduction of WOMAC pain score) in the combination group compared to glucosamine alone, this difference was statistically significant,” he added. The joint health market is dominated by glucosamine, which is extracted from the shell of crabs, lobster and shrimps. Cargill also markets a non-animal, non-shellfish derived product. The ingredient is often used in combination with chondroitin sulphate, extracted from animal cartilage, such as sharks. According to the Nutrition Business Journal, US sales for these combined supplements were $810 million (€563 million) in 2005. Study details Dr Gruenwald and his co-workers recruited 177 people with moderate-to-severe hip or knee osteoarthritis and randomly assigned them to receive either a glucosamine sulfate supplement (1500 milligrams per day) or glucosamine plus omega-3 fatty acids (providing 444 mg of fish oil, of which 200 mg were omega-3-fatty acids). “Because the patients studied had moderate-to-severe knee or hip osteoarthritis pain, a placebo group was not used for ethical reasons,” explained the researchers. After 26 weeks of supplementation, the researchers tested pain levels using the established Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthrosis index (WOMAC) score. While there was no significant difference between the number of responders in each group when a minimal pain reduction of at least 20 per cent was used, significant differences were observed when a higher responder criterion of at least 80 pain reduction was used. Indeed, the combination product reduced morning stiffness and pain in the hips and knees by between 48.5 and 55.6 per cent, compared to 41.7 to 55.3 per cent in the glucosamine only group. Commenting on the potential mechanism, Dr Gruenwald and his co-workers note that the ingredient probably acted synergistically. “Omega-3 fatty acids inhibit the inflammation process in OA, whereas glucosamine sulfate further supports the rebuilding of lost cartilage substance,” they stated. Source: Advances in TherapyVolume 26, Issue 9, Pages 858-871"Effect of glucosamine sulfate with or without omega-3 fatty acids in patients with osteoarthritis"Authors: J. Gruenwald, E. Petzold, R. Busch, H.-P. Petzold, H.-J. Graubaum