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Omega-3s Shown to Improve Brain Health Later in Life

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the cognitive stage at which memory and other mental functions begin to decline. A recent study suggests that supplementation with omega-3s may lower oxidative stress, potentially slowing the advancement of MCI.

Participants in the study included 67 mature adults with MCI and 134 individuals with similar demographics but no signs of MCI. The researchers measured omega-3 intake with a food frequency questionnaire and then took blood samples to measure levels of lipid hydroperoxide (LPO), which is a marker of oxidative stress.

The researchers found that higher omega-3 intake was associated with better cognitive function, including attention, short term memory, and recall capabilities. Conversely, high LPO levels were associated with cognitive decline.

Participants in the study with MCI had higher LPO levels than those without. However, within the MCI group, higher omega-3 intake (in both the DHA and EPA form) was associated with lower LPO levels.

Researchers from the Universiti Kebangsaan in Malaysia conducted the study. It was published in the May 2013 issue of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

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 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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