The connection between Omega-3s and the brain isn’t widely discussed. You are probably already aware that Omega-3 fatty acids have a number of health benefits, most notably in relation to cardiovascular health. Specifically Omega-3s support three markers of cardiovascular health: the Omega-3 index, and C-reactive protein levels, and triglyceride levels. What is less commonly talked about, however, are how Omega-3s can promote brain health.
One of the most significant ways Omega-3s and the brain are related is in the area of brain development. It has been widely acknowledged that Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), one of the three types of Omega-3s, plays a vital role in the development of brains in fetuses and infants, so much so that DHA compromises roughly 30 percent of the fetal brain weight.1 DHA is so vital to the proper development of the central nervous system that the Food and Drug Administration recommends a diet high in Omega-3s for women and young children especially.2
Aging and memory
Just as it is crucial to make sure that young developing minds are receiving proper levels of Omega-3s, there is also evidence to suggest that there may be Omega-3 brain health benefits for aging individuals. A study that took place over eight years and was published in the journal Neurology concluded that older women with Omega-3 rich diets would retain a higher brain volume when compared to their counterparts.3 The study also noted a significant volume increase in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays an important role in memory. Similarly, a study conducted by the Universities of Oxford, Cape Town, Oslo and the UAE paired Omega-3s with B vitamins to study the effects of the substances on mental decline.4 250 subjects with mild cognitive impairment, or brain function lower than expected but which does not yet interfere with everyday life, partook in the brain health study. The subjects were then either given a placebo or a B vitamin, a vitamin which had previously been proven to slow mental decline. The study discovered that those individuals with high baseline Omega-3 levels received significantly more cognitive benefits from the vitamin B than those individuals with low Omega-3 baselines.
Though the study of Omega-3s and the brain is a relatively new field, we are already seeing many things to be excited about. As more research emerges, it is very possible that we could see increased evidence of Omega-3 brain health benefits. Talk to your doctor today for the latest information about the benefits of Omega-3s and the potential benefits of MegaRed® products.
1 Bellows, L., Clifford, J.,Niebaum, K.,Bunning, M. (2015) Omega-3 Fatty Acids.[online] Available at: http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/omega-3-fatty-acids-9-382/ [Accessed 30 Nov. 2016]
2 fda.gov,(2004) What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish. [online] Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Metals/ucm351781.htm [Accessed 30 Nov. 2016]
3 Brown. D (2014) Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids help boost brain volume, according to study. [online] Available at: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/news_article.php?newsID=1941 [Accessed 30 Nov. 2016]
4 ox.ac.uk, (2016) Omega-3 levels affect whether B vitamins can slow brain’s decline. [online] http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2016-01-18-omega-3-levels-affect-whether-b-vitamins-can-slow-brain%E2%80%99s-decline [Accessed 30 Nov. 2016]