Omega 3 is brain-boosting. These fatty acids bolster your mind, according to a new study found in the Neurology journal on the aging brain. Omega 3 acids have been associated to amplifying brain capacity and potentially sustaining better brain health. Find fatty acids in fish and plant products, particularly in non-fried, fatty fish such as salmon, herring, tuna and mackerel along with varieties of algae.
As part of the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study, researchers analyzed 1,111 blood samples from women for levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), following their progress over an eight-year period. Older women, with an average age of 78, had MRI scans taken of their brain to assess their brain volume. Women who had double the amount of omega 3 fatty acids had a brain volume of about 0.7 percent larger than that of their counterpart.
At the conclusion of the study, participants that were given the highest levels had the largest average brain volumes. It also revealed that participates with the highest levels, had a 2.7 percent larger volume hippocampus – region of the brain that Alzheimer’s disease first affects.
Not surprised at the results, senior scientist at Health Diagnostic Library Inc., also co-author of the study said that other reports have confirmed that diets rich in fish are linked to people with less dementia and less depression. He cautioned, however, that the findings do not mean that omega 3 actually caused a larger brain volume, but that there was a documented association. He contended that his study, along with others, have shown a slowing decline in memory with omega 3 fatty acids. The effect on brain volume is equivalent of delaying normal loss of brain cells associated with aging by one to two-years.
According to Dr. Gregory Cole, Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research associate director, the study is valuable because it measures brain volume instead of “memory and thinking” which are not as objective to calculate. However, results should be interpreted with caution because it is an observational study rather than a clinical trial. While it is a solid finding, further studies are required to show a “cause-and-effect link” of omega 3 fatty acids and brain-boosting before the study can be considered conclusive.
There have been two high-profile accounts that have validated the importance of omega 3 to the brain. The most recent is California teen, Grant Virgin, who was in a coma following a horrific car accident. His family was willing to try anything that would help bring their son back. After research, the family had doctors administer high doses of omega 3 fatty acids to heal their son’s brain. Grant not only woke from the coma, but he is on the road to recovery. Virgin’s doctors attribute the fish oil from stopping the inflammation in his brain. The omega 3 provided “the foundation for the brain to repair itself,” said Dr. Michael Lewis, Brain Health Education and Research Institute founder.
While studies have not yet determined how much omega 3 acids are brain-boosting, the American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week.
by Dawn Levesque