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Omega-3s May Help Preserve Brain Size, Memory In Later Years

Our brains are like many muscles in our bodies in that they shrink as we age, affecting functions such as memory and movement. A recent study found that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids may be correlated with larger brain volumes in later years.

Participants in the study included 1,111 women who took part in the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. The researchers measured levels of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty-acids in their blood and also measured brain volumes using MRI. Brain volumes were measured again eight years later when the women were an average age of 78.

The researchers found that participants with a higher amount of omega-3s (7.5%) in the blood stream had brain volumes that were 2.1 cm3 larger in volume (or 0.7%) than participants with lower levels of omega-3s (3.4%).

They also found that the hippocampus, the area of the brain that plays an important part in memory, was 2.7% larger in the individuals with higher levels of omega-3s

Researchers from the University of South Dakota conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on January 22, 2014, in the journal Neurology.

Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including 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 omega-3s.

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