Fish Oil May Slow Brain Shrinkage
Fish oil has long been linked to maintaining cognitive function as you age. Now a recent study has identified differences in brain structure between users and non-users of fish oil supplements.
The research was conducted by scientists at Rhode Island Hospital’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center. The findings were presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer ’s Disease in Paris, France, on July 20, 2011.
Participants in the study included 819 men and women, of whom 177 self-reported using a fish oil supplement before the start of the study and throughout the study. Researchers compared cognitive functioning and brain atrophy between users and non-users.
Use of fish oil was associated with better cognitive functioning for participants with normal baseline cognitive function, which is consistent with previous studies.
Of greater interest, the researchers found a clear association between fish oil supplements and brain volume. Use of fish oil supplements was associated with less brain shrinkage in the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus, the two parts of the brain which are most important for memory and thinking.
If you’re looking to increase your fish oil intake, try adding darker fish, such as salmon or tuna, to your diet. If you don’t like the taste of fish or are just finding it hard to work it into your meal plans, consider taking a high quality supplement. Make sure your supplement is tested for purity and potency.