Omega-3s from Fish Oil Associated With Better Brain Function
Our brains age along with the rest of our bodies, often resulting in cognitive difficulties later in life. A recent study suggests that having higher levels of the fish oil-derived omega-3 fatty acids EPA, DPA, and DHA in the blood is associated with better performance on neuropsychological tests in mature adults.
Participants in the study included 768 people between the ages of 53 and 73 who took part in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Cognitive function was measured using five tests: the Trail Making Test, the Verbal Fluency Test, the Selective Reminding Test, the Visual Reproduction Test, and the Mini Mental State Exam.
The researchers found that the participants with the highest serum levels of omega-3s completed the Trail Making Test 7.1 seconds faster than those with the lowest average omega-3 serum levels. They also found that the high omega-3 group listed three words more per minute on the Verbal Fluency Test than the low omega-3 group. There were no differences between the groups for the Selective Reminding Test, the Visual Reproduction Test, or the Mini Mental State Exam.
Researchers from the University of Naples Federico II and the University of Eastern Finland conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on April 13, 2016 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved mood, improved joint mobility, reducing the risk of 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 omega-3s. For vegans like the ones in this study or for folks who just don’t like fish, consider taking a daily high quality non-fish supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.