More news on the brain aging prevention. Eating a diet that’s full of omega-3 fatty acids might just help to prevent memory troubles, as well as slowing down the effects of aging on the brain as the years pass. This comes from a new study that examines the link between blood levels of omega-3s and brain health.
The work appears in the journal Neurology and has found that those with low levels of omega-3 fatty acids have more risk of aging related memory problems.
Diets without docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and omega-3s that are a natural part of fish and other foods might cause the brain to age more quickly. The lower brain volume observed in those with lower levels of omega-3s was equal to about two years of structural aging of the brain according to study lead Zaldy S. Tan, MD, MPH of the Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Earlier research has shown that those who eat a diet with lots of fatty fish like salmon and tuna have a reduced risk of dementia, heart disease and stroke. The results from this most recent work appear to explain why.
The team measured levels of omega-3 fatty acids inside red blood cells for 1,575 seniors (average age was 67) who were dementia free at the time and participating in the Framingham Offspring Study. Subjects were evaluated for mental function and had MRI scans of their brains to look at size and blood supply.
Those whose DHA levels were in the lowest 25% had lower brain volumes compared to those with higher levels of DHA. What’s more, those who had low DHA and were also lacking all the other omega-3 fatty acids didn’t score as high on tests of visual memory, abstract thinking and processing. Brain scans showed that these subjects also had less blood supply in their brain.
The results, the researchers say, demonstrate that low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA, are associated with a pattern of memory and cognitive function issues even in those who have not been diagnosed with dementia.
The team accounted for different lifestyle and health factors… things like age, education level and body weight, to see if other differences in those with low levels of omega-3 could be found to help understand their rapid brain aging. Yet the difference remained, making it appear even more likely that omega-3 fatty acids are the explanation for the better brain health.
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Lots Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help Brain Age Better… Continued…
This is not to say that consuming omega-3 fatty acids prevents age related mental decline. It shows only that there could be an association between eating these foods and a healthier brain. There could be other factors, such as fruit and vegetable intake or activity levels responsible for a healthy brain.
Foods known to naturally have lots of this nutrient include salmon, halibut, sardines, albacore, trout, herring, walnut, flaxseed and canola oils. You can also get omega-fatty acids from shrimp, clams, light chunk tuna, catfish, cod and spinach. From this list you can see why fish has earned a reputation as a brain food… omega fatty acids can not be produced by the human body and therefore must be taken in as part of the diet.
Many choose to take docosahexaenoic (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in supplement form, but until we know more, this may not be the best option for everyone. Adding a serving (or two) of some of the foods we’ve mentioned here is a more natural approach. And be sure to talk with your healthcare team if you’re concerned about your personal risks and are looking for brain aging prevention techniques to keep your brain healthy as the years pass.