I often say that the earlier you start doing something about your health, the better off you’ll be in the long run.
Consistency is key. And it will provide big payoff.
Now, new research highlights how this dietary secret—which you should start incorporating as early as possible—might just SAVE your brain.
Boost your cognition
Researchers studied the link between omega-3s and cognitive function in nearly 2,200 middle-aged adults without a history of dementia or stroke.
They measured blood levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), two of the most abundant omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids from fish and fish oil.
And they compared it to MRI scans of the hippocampus, a key region involved with memory (that shrinks with the onset of dementia).
Researchers also looked at what we call white matter hyperintensities. This can tell you if the small blood vessels to your brain are able to transport adequate oxygen to keep those cells healthy and alive. (Having these isn’t a good thing and could point to a dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis.)
Subjects were divided into four groups, depending on the amount of omega-3s consumed. Ultimately, the higher the omega-3s, the better the cognitive outcomes.
In fact, in all groups except for those with the lowest omega-3 levels, there was larger hippocampal volume. And the higher the omega-3 blood levels, the better the scores were on abstract reasoning tests.
(Remember, this improvement was seen among patients without memory impairment. So these results are pretty remarkable.)
As for those with white matter hyperintensities, higher level of omega-3s translated to less structural changes in the MRI.
Indulge early… and more often
What’s exciting to me about this new study is that it highlights the importance of starting healthy habits as young as possible.
Because remember, the more brain cells you have at an earlier age, the most you can tap into as you get older.
So, while previous research has linked higher levels of omega-3s with better cognitive function and decreased risk of dementia in older subjects…
Now, this study shows benefit to younger adults, too.
That being said, perhaps you’d like to share this new study with your children and grandchildren. Because the earlier you all start this healthy habit, the better off your brains might be.
I recommend supplementing with 3 grams (3,000 mg) of EPA/DHA daily.
In addition, start incorporating more wild-caught fish to your diet. I previously reported on how even two to three servings of fish per week was beneficial to brain health—and upping that intake led to greater protection.
Some of my favorites include swordfish, tuna, striped bass, cod, flounder, and salmon.
Until next time,
“Omega-3 Levels Linked to Brain Health in Middle Age.” Diabetes self-management, 10/31/2022. (diabetesselfmanagement.com/news-research/2022/10/31/omega-3-levels-linked-to-brain-health-in-middle-age/)