Health Update: Omega-3’s Protect and Feed the Brain



Hello once again everyone:

Here is some great news for brain health. Keeping your Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid (EFA’s) intake optimal results in better brain function and protects us again age-related decline (Alzheimer’s and other forms of cognitive decline). This study is unique because it looks at this issue in middle aged people rather than older populations that are more frequently studied in relation to brain function and health.

“Omega-3 fatty acid concentrations in red blood cells were linked with brain structure and cognitive function in midlife, an exploratory cross-sectional study showed.

In about 2,200 people with an average age of 46, a higher omega-3 index was associated with a larger hippocampal volume (the memory center of the brain) and better abstract reasoning, according to Claudia Satizabal, PhD, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and colleagues.

In addition, APOE4 carriers (that have high risk of dementia) with a higher omega-3 index had a lower white matter hyperintensity burden, they reported in (the Journal) Neurology.

“The new contribution here is that, even at younger ages, if you have a diet that includes some omega-3 fatty acids, you are already protecting your brain for most of the indicators of brain aging that we see at middle age,” 

 Omega-3 fatty acid levels also may protect older brains from environmental exposures like air pollution. Studies have linked pro-inflammatory diets, which are low in Omega-3’s, to (lower) brain volume and other markers of (unhealthy) brain aging in older people.”

Bottom Line: It is important to make sure your food plan has adequate Omega-3 EFA’s and that you keep your Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio optimal. The earlier in life that you do this, the better, but it helps at any age. This is important for multiple reasons:

  1. We need Omega-3 EFA’s for proper brain function as DHA is essential to normal function and health of all brain cells.
  2. Omega-3’s also possess powerful anti-inflammatory actions that are also critical for optimal healthy aging of all brain cells and the body as well.
  3. Too many Omega-6 type of EFA’s is highly inflammatory. We do need some Omega-6 EFA’s, and this means that even if you have adequate Omega-3’s but too many Omega-6’s in your diet that you will tilt towards inflammation and degeneration of healthy cells. The typical American diet is way too heavy in processed and damaged Omega-6’s and it is important to know your ratio so that you can adapt your food plan to a more anti-inflammatory status to protect your health. Plus, you can find out your Omega -6:3 ratio by a simple blood test which we do thorough LabCorp. To read more about Omega-6 issues, click the link below.



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