Higher Omega-3 Index May Support Cognitive Health
The Omega-3 Index is a measure of the amount of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids in the blood, specifically the red blood cell membranes. Previous research suggests that an Omega-3 index between 8-12% is associated with higher quality of health. A recent study suggests that a higher Omega-3 index in midlife may help support cognitive function and slow brain aging over time.
Adults who took part in the Third-Generation and Omni 2 cohorts of the Framingham Heart Study participated in the study. There were 4,095 participants with an average age of 46. The researchers measured DHA and EPA levels then calculated the Omega-3 index for each participant. MRI was used to measure brain matter and cognitive function was evaluated.
Participants with higher DHA concentrations and higher Omega-3 index were found to have larger hippocampal volumes, which is associated with longer-lasting spatial memory. Participants with higher EPA concentrations and higher Omega-3 index were found to have better abstract reasoning.
Participants with higher levels of DHA and EPA concentrations and higher Omega-3 index were found to have lower white matter hyperintensity burden. Higher white matter hyperintensity burden has been linked with cognitive impairment.
The study was conducted by researchers from UT Health San Antonio and Boston University School of Medicine. It was published online ahead of print on October 5, 2022 in the journal Neurology.
Wild blueberries were found to support cognitive health in a previous study.