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Omega-3 Essential Fatty-Acids Shown to be Essential for Brain Health

A lack of omega-3 essential fatty-acids may result in faster aging of your brain and a reduction in its memory and thinking capabilities, according to a study published in the February 28, 2012, issue of Neurology.

For this study, the University of California based researchers recruited 1,575 participants with an average age of 67. None of the participants had been diagnosed with dementia at the onset of the study.

The researchers administered MRI brain scans to measure the volume of the participant’s brains. They also took blood samples to determine the levels of omega-3 essential fatty-acids in their red blood cells and measured body mass. The participants also completed tests to determine mental functioning.

They found that the participants with the lowest levels of DHA (bottom 25%) had lower brain volume when compared with the brains of participants with higher levels of DHA. The lower brain volume was equivalent to two years of structural brain aging.

Additionally, participants with the lowest levels of all omega-3 fatty acids (bottom 25%) scored lower on the mental functioning tests such as problem solving, multi-tasking and abstract thinking.

In addition to brain health, omega-3s have been linked to an impressive number of health benefits, including improved heart health, alleviating arthritis pain, better moods, improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, and aiding your immune system.

Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in DHA and EPA omega-3s, while ALA omega-3 fatty-acids are plant derived and can be found in flaxseed oil, vegetable oil, and walnuts.

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