Eating Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Midlife May Sharpen Thinking Skills and Improve Brain Structure

Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements

Consuming Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Midlife Might Sharpen Pondering Expertise and Enhance Mind Construction

Fish oil, krill oil, or cod liver oil dietary supplements are a method to enhance your omega-3 fatty acid consumption. One of many richest dietary sources of omega-3s comes from consuming cold-water fatty fish like salmon.

Individuals who eat extra meals containing omega-3 fatty acids in midlife could have larger considering abilities and even higher mind construction than individuals who eat fewer meals containing fatty acids. That is revealed by an exploratory research lately printed in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Omega-3 fatty acids are present in fish like salmon, sardines, lake trout and albacore tuna. They’re additionally present in meals dietary supplements in addition to meals fortified with fatty acids.

“If folks might enhance their cognitive resilience and probably forestall dementia with a number of easy adjustments to their weight-reduction plan, it might have a big effect on public well being.” — Claudia L. Satizabal, PhD

“Bettering our weight-reduction plan is one option to promote our mind well being,” mentioned research writer Claudia L. Satizabal, PhD, of the College of Texas Well being Science Middle at San Antonio. “If folks might enhance their cognitive resilience and probably forestall dementia with a number of easy adjustments to their weight-reduction plan, it might have a big effect on public well being. Even higher, our research means that even a modest consumption of omega-3s could also be sufficient to protect mind perform. That is according to present American Coronary heart Affiliation dietary tips of consuming not less than two servings of fish per week to enhance cardiovascular well being.

The cross-sectional research concerned 2,183 folks with a mean age of 46 who didn’t have dementia or stroke. Their ranges of omega-3 fatty acids had been measured. They took checks that assessed their considering abilities. They’d scanners to measure mind volumes.

The three predominant omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic[{” attribute=””>acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA is found mainly in plant oils such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oils. DHA and EPA are found in fish and other seafood.

The people in the low group had an average of 3.4% of their total fatty acids as omega-3 fatty acids compared to an average of 5.2% for people in the high group. An optimal level is 8% or higher. Levels between 4% and 8% are considered intermediate. Levels below 4% are considered low.

Researchers adjusted for factors that could affect results. They also applied a mathematical process to normalize the data. They observed that people who ate higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids not only had higher average scores on a test of abstract reasoning, but they also had larger average volumes in the hippocampus area of their brains, which plays an important role in memory.

“These results need to be confirmed with additional research, but it’s exciting that omega-3 levels could play a role in improving cognitive resilience, even in middle-aged people,” Satizabal said.

She noted that the study was a snapshot in time, and participants were not followed over time, so the results do not prove that eating omega-3 fatty acids will preserve brain function. It only shows an association.  

While the study included a small proportion of people of many races/ethnicities, Satizabal said that the majority of the sample were non-Hispanic white adults, which may limit the ability to apply the results to other groups.

For more on this research, see Omega-3 Linked to Improved Brain Structure and Cognition.

Reference: “Association of Red Blood Cell Omega-3 Fatty Acids With MRI Markers and Cognitive Function in Midlife: The Framingham Heart Study” by Claudia L. Satizabal, Jayandra Jung Himali, Alexa S. Beiser, Vasan Ramachandran, Debora Melo van Lent, Dibya Himali, Hugo J. Aparicio, Pauline Maillard, Charles S. DeCarli, William Harris and Sudha Seshadri, 5 October 2022, Neurology.
DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000201296

The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institute on Aging and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.


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