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Omega-3s May Boost Brain Function in Mature Adults

A recent study suggests that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation may boost blood flow in the brain and slow memory decline that can be cause by restricted blood flow or brain cell inflammation.

 

Participants in the study include 48 people with borderline hypertension between the ages of 40 and 85. Over the course of 20 weeks, they were given either a fish oil capsule containing 400 milligrams of DHA and 100 milligrams of EPA for a total dose of 2 grams of omega-3s or a placebo of corn oil daily.


The researchers assessed cerebrovascular function at the beginning and end of the study. The tests were administered when the participants were at rest and also when performing cognitive tasks.


The researchers found cerebrovascular responsiveness to elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the blood increased to 26% in women, but there was no change in the men. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have been associated with reduced cerebrovascular responsiveness to carbon dioxide.


The researchers also found a significant increase in neurovascular coupling in men only, which correlated with an increase in EPA. Neurovascular coupling refers to the relationship between local neural activity and subsequent changes in blood flow, and tends to become impaired in people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.


Researchers from the University of Newcastle in Australia led the study. It was published on October 2, 2018, in Nutrients.


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 people who don’t like fish, consider taking a daily high-quality non-fish supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.

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