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Omega-3 Levels Linked to Lower Risk of Cognitive Decline

Multiple studies have linked omega-3 fatty acids to improved brain health. Most recently, a study has been released suggesting that having high levels of omega-3s in the blood stream may reduce the risk of small infarcts and other brain abnormalities that are associated with cognitive decline in older adults.

A brain infarct is a blockage or leakage in a blood vessel that supplies the brain with blood. This results in tissue damage in the brain that leads to cognitive decline.

Participants in the study included 3,660 people over the age of 65. The researchers conducted MRIs at the beginning of the study to see if the participants had any small lesions in the brain or silent brain infarcts. Both of them have been linked with loss of thinking skills, dementia, and stroke.

Five years later, the researchers performed the same brain scans on 2,313 of the participants. They also took blood samples.

After adjusting for a variety of variables, the researchers found that people with the highest omega-3 blood levels were 40% less likely to have a subclinical infarct than those with the lowest omega-3 levels.

Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland conducted the study. It was published on October 10, 2013, in Journal of the American Heart Association.

Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including alleviating arthritis pain, improving mood, 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 ensure they are 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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