Omega-6 Fatty Acids Extend Lifespan By Activating Autophagy

Polyunsaturated fatty acids, among which includes fish oil, have a somewhat controversial position in the scientific literature.

Some evidence suggests it hay have beneficial effects on cardiovascular and neurological systems, however other data points to a null effect.

In the latest research scientists uncover a mechanism by which omega-6 fatty acid supplementation increases lifespan in simple animala.

In the study it was shown that supplementation of omega-6 fatty acids extends the lifespan of C Elegans roundworms through the induction of autophagy.  Autophagy is the process of cellular renewal in which defective and damaged structures within the cell are broken down and recycled.  Autophagy itself is associated with lifespan extension, and defects in autophagy is linked to aging and disease.

Further in the study, the researchers demonstrated that the same response to omega 6 supplementation was observed in human cells.

The authors offer the robust conclusions:

The malfunctioning of autophagy has been linked to a wide range of pathological conditions, including neurodegenerative diseases, chronic inflammation, infection, and cancer. Several of these pathologies are ameliorated by dietary supplementation
with v-3/6 PUFAs. The overlap between the beneficial effects of activating autophagy and the salubrious effects of v-3/6 PUFA consumption, together with the data presented here, suggests that v-3/6 PUFAs could counteract the deterioration of the autophagic system normally occurring during aging. Our data suggest that v3/6 PUFAs could be used, and/or analogs could be developed, to activate or even inhibit autophagy, both of which would be of great help in the prevention and treatment of multiple pathologies.

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