Omega 3 Fish Oil
Has Positive Effects on the Brain:
 
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is one of the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids known as essential fatty acids. It is, however, not the only essential fatty acid. Others include EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), and more. These are known as Omega 3 fatty acids.
 

They are known as essential fatty acids because scientists and health professionals who research our health consider them to be essential for the maintenance of good health, and to help prevent, or ameliorate a range of common health problems.

Omega 3 has positive effects on your mood, cognitive ability, psychological problems such as depression, and has shown a reduced risk of dementia.

Sales of Omega 3 supplements are growing faster than any other nutritional dietary supplement in history.

 

Lets examine exactly what Omega 3 supplements are and what they do.

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is one of the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids known as essential fatty acids. It is, however, not the only essential fatty acid. Others include EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), and more. These are known as Omega 3 fatty acids.

They are known as essential fatty acids because scientists and health professionals who research our health consider them to be essential for the maintenance of good health, and to help prevent, or ameliorate a range of common health problems.

 

We have been brought up to believe that fats are bad for us. And in some cases this is true. For example saturated fat, most commonly found in animal products, is not good for our health. However it’s not true that all fat is bad for us and the Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly DHA and EPA, are considered essential to good health. They are polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Unlike some nutrients our bodies are unable to create DHA, or the other essential fatty acids, itself. Rather we must rely on dietary intake for our supply of these Omega-3 fatty acids.

 

Whilst in the past there was a range of sources of DHA in our diet these sources have reduced over the past hundred years. Fish oil from oily fish was the single biggest source of DHA in our diets, however during the last century the amount of fish in the average American diet has reduced dramatically.

However there are other sources of DHA as well. For example meat has been a good source of DHA and EPA in the past, however is now not so. This is because most of our meat is now sourced from grain fed animals, and grain fed beef is low in these Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Grass fed beef is much higher in Omega3 fats however grass fed beef is now relatively rare in our diets.

 

Over the last 30 years research has established clearly that adequate supplies of  DHA and EPA, the 2 most important of the omega 3 essential fatty acids, is essential to a wide range of health issues. Research has shown that the average American diet is inadequate in Omega 3 intake and increasing our intake can offer a wide range of health benefits including a reduction in heart disease, including fatal heart attacks, a reduction in the risk of stroke, a wide range of brain benefits including improved memory and brain function and a wide range of other improvements in our health.

 

Low Omega 3 levels ages your brain faster.

We’ve said it before but there’s no harm in saying it again. There is a growing body of evidence linking increased intake of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are primarily DHA and EPA, to better brain health. Once again more evidence emerges.

For instance we’ve talked about the link between Omega 3 fats, commonly found in fish oil, and memory loss.

 

And we’ve talked about the effect of Omega 3 on your mood, cognitive ability, psychological problems such as depression, and a reduced risk of dementia.

Again, at the end of February 2012, more evidence emerges supporting the conclusion that low levels of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA can have a negative effect on your brain health.

 

In a new study researchers examined 1575 people with an average age of 67 who were free of dementia, and in particular analysed the levels of DHA and EPA in their blood.

The subjects were given a range of tests to measure brain function and memory, including brain imaging and psychological assessments.

 

What was discovered was that participants in the study who had the lowest levels of Omega 3 had smaller brain volumes and a poorer cognitive performance. They performed poorer on tests measuring memory and thinking, and worse than those who exhibited a higher levels of Omega 3 in the blood.

 

In effect what they have found is that people with lower levels of Omega 3 in the blood seem to have a faster rate of brain ageing which translates into poorer cognitive performance and memory.

 

The specific conclusion of the study was that “Lower RBC DHA levels are associated with smaller brain volumes and a “vascular” pattern of cognitive impairment even in persons free of clinical dementia.”

The evidence mounts up of a link between Omega 3 and brain health, or conversely between low levels of Omega 3 intake and poorer brain health.

 

What is not entirely clear is how long you need to increase your Omega 3 intake before there is some positive effect on your brain health, and of course this is an important factor. The study did not examine this.

However whether or not you’re concerned about improving your brain health there are so many other powerful reasons for including more Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet. Improved brain health may simply be one of them, there are so many others.

 

Whether you want to reduce your risk of macular degeneration as you get older, reduce your risk of dying from heart attack, help improve your likely outcome from arthritis treatment, help reduce symptoms of depression, improve your skin or have a better outcome in any one of a wide range of health conditions, (which you can see listed on the right for your reading) it seems there are powerful reasons to increase the amount of Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet.

 

Of course you can do so by eating more fish, though more people choose simply to take Omega 3 supplements for a number of reasons. And if you want you can find out more about how we have determined which Omega 3 supplements to take for ourselves in our article about finding the best Omega 3 supplements.

 

What Does Omega 3 Have To Do with Brain Cells

More DHA may help improve mental function. . . . .(click to read more)

 

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