Individuals who eat extra meals with omega-3 fatty acids in midlife might have superior considering expertise and even higher mind construction than individuals who eat few meals containing the fatty acids. That is in response to an exploratory research that was just lately printed in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Omega-3 fatty acids are present in fish akin to salmon, sardines, lake trout, and albacore tuna. They’re additionally present in dietary dietary supplements in addition to meals which can be fortified with the fatty acids.
“If folks may enhance their cognitive resilience and probably keep at bay dementia with some easy modifications to their weight-reduction plan, that might have a big affect on public well being.” — Claudia L. Satizabal, PhD
“Bettering our weight-reduction plan is one technique to promote our mind well being,” stated research writer Claudia L. Satizabal, PhD, of the College of Texas Well being Science Heart at San Antonio. “If folks may enhance their cognitive resilience and probably keep at bay dementia with some easy modifications to their weight-reduction plan, that might have a big affect on public well being. Even higher, our research means that even modest consumption of omega-3 could also be sufficient to protect mind perform. That is consistent with the present American Coronary heart Affiliation dietary pointers to devour at the very least 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 have been measured. They took checks that gauged their considering expertise. They’d scans to measure mind volumes.
The three primary omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic 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.
The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institute on Aging and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.