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How Omega-3 Supplementation Can Slow Down Aging

Omega-3s fatty acids are essential nutrients. They have tons of health benefits for both your body and your brain.

Not many nutrients have been studied as much as omega-3 fatty acids.

This article will look at the benefits of omega-3s, especially how it helps to slow down aging.

The different forms of omega 3s

Fish oil comes in processed and natural forms. Processing fish oil can affect the fatty acids in it. This is very important because the various fatty acids have different absorbing rates. Some fatty acids absorb faster and better than others.

  • Fish:Omega-3 fatty acids in whole fish presents as triglycerides, phospholipids, and free fatty acids.
  • Normal fish oil: omega-3 fatty acids present as triglycerides in normal fish oils.
  • Processed fish oil: During the refining of fish oil, the triglycerides are usually converted into ethyl esters. This allows food chemists to be able to adjust the concentration of DHA and EPA in the oil.
  • Reformed triglycerides: Food chemists can convert the ethyl esters in processed oils back into triglycerides. These new triglycerides are then called “reformed” triglycerides.

All forms of Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to the health. However, some studies have shown that the omega-3 in ethyl esters is not readily absorbed by the body than other forms — though a couple of studies suggest that they are well absorbed (1,2).

Natural fish oil

Natural fish oil is commonly found in the tissues of oily fish. It is usually present in the form of triglycerides. There’s nothing closer to real fish than this.

Natural fish oil is enriched with several vital nutrients. Fish oil contains 18–31% omega-3s (both DHA and EPA). However, the exact amount varies between different species (3,4,5).

Natural fish oil is also enriched with vitamins A and D.

Excellent sources of natural fish oil include sardines, salmon, menhaden, cod liver, and herring. They are available in supplement form (as capsules) or liquid form (6).

Processed fish oil

This kind of fish oil is usually concentrated and/or purified. It is made up of triglycerides or ethyl esters.

Purifying the oil rids it of PCBs, mercury, and other contaminants. Concentrating on the oil also increases the level of EPA and DHA in it. Nutritional studies have shown that some processed fish oils may contain as high as 50–90% pure DHA and/or EPA.

There’s plenty of processed fish oil in the food market. Why? Well, they are usually cheap and available in capsule form, something that many consumers love.

Processed fish oil is usually not absorbed well by the body than natural fish oil, especially when it is in the ethyl ester form. What’s more? Ethyl esters are prone to rancidity and oxidation compared with triglycerides (7).

But on the other hand, some food manufacturers usually process the oil again, thus converting it into a synthetic form of triglyceride (1,8). The body well absorbs this synthetic triglyceride.

Such processed fish oils are called re-esterified or reformed triglycerides. They are costly supplements are make up a tiny percentage of the fish oil supplement market.

Omega 3 capsules

Omega-3 oils are also found in soft gels and capsules. Many consumers love them because they’re tasteless and can easily be swallowed.

The capsules are produced from a soft layer of gelatin. Some manufacturers use enteric coating as well.

The enteric coating prevents the capsule from dissolving until it gets into your small intestine. Enteric coating is mostly used in fish oil capsules and helps to prevent fish burps.

How does omega-3 slow down aging?

Well, it is a fact that Omega-3 slows down aging. But, how does this happen?

Well, omega-3 slows down aging by improving your skin health.

DHA is one of the components of your skin structure. It controls the health of cell membranes, and these cell membranes make up a greater part of your skin.

When your cell membrane is healthy, what you have will be moist, soft, and supple skin free of wrinkles.

EPA is also beneficial to your skin. These benefits include (9):

  • Regulating the production of oil from the skin as well as skin hydration.
  • Prevents the hyperkeratinization of hair follicles.
  • Reduces the risk of acne
  • Reduces premature aging of the skin.

Omega-3s also offer protection against sunburn and other damages which the sun may cause your skin. It prevents the production and release of certain substances that cause wasting away of the collagen in your skin after it has been exposed to the sun (9).

Omega 3 offers protection against acne

An omega-3-rich diet prevents acne and also lessens its severity. Studies have shown that omega-3 has anti-inflammatory properties. A new study has also shown that inflammation may be the primary cause of acne. And with its anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3s may help protect your skin against acne (10,11).

It guards against red, itchy, or dry skin

Omega-3s have a moisturizing effect on the skin. They fight itchy, red, or dry skin that disorders like psoriasis and atopic dermatitis may cause. How do they do this? Well, omega-3s can improve the skin's barrier function, helping to retain the moisture and prevent the entry of irritants (12,13).

In a particular study, women took 2.5ml (half a teaspoon) of omega-3 rich flaxseed oil for 12 weeks. Their skin hydration increased by 39% within the time. Their skin was also smoother and less sensitive than that of the placebo group (14).

Conclusion — Omega-3s are good fats

These essential fats are found in seafood, fish, and some plant foods like hemp seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, and chia seeds.

They have lots of health benefits, which extend to the skin. While the research may be limited, it is important to note that omega-3s enhance your skin’s resistance to sunburn, protect against red, dry and itchy skin, and reduce acne.

Summarily, omega-3s are a great addition to your diet, as they are beneficial not only to your skin but to your overall health.

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