Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish such as salmon, sardines, lake trout, and albacore tuna. They are also found in dietary supplements and foods fortified with fatty acids.
“Improving our diet is one way to boost our brain health,” said study author Claudia L. Satizabal, Ph.D., of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio. Cognitive ability and potential protection against dementia, which could have large public health implications. Even better, our research suggests that even modest consumption of omega-3s may be sufficient to protect brain function. This is in line with current U.S. The Heart Association’s dietary guidelines for eating at least two servings of fish per week to improve cardiovascular health.”
The cross-sectional study involved 2,183 people with an average age of 46 without dementia or stroke. Their levels of Omega-3 fatty acids were measured. They took a test that measures their thinking abilities. They performed scans to measure brain volume.
Those in the low group had an average of 3.4 percent of their total fatty acids as omega-3 fatty acids, while those in the high group had an average of 5.2 percent. The optimal level is 8% or higher. Levels between 4% and 8% are considered moderate. Levels below 4% are considered low.
The researchers adjusted for factors that may have affected the results. They also applied a mathematical process to normalize the data. They observed that people who ate higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids not only had higher mean scores on abstract reasoning tests, but also had greater mean volume in their brain’s hippocampus, an area that plays an important role in memory. .
“These results need to be confirmed with more research, but it is encouraging that omega-3 levels can play a role in improving cognitive performance, even in middle-aged adults,” Satizabal said.
She noted that the study was a snapshot in time, and the participants were not followed long-term, so the results don’t prove that eating omega-3 fatty acids protects brain function. It just shows an association.
Satizabal also noted that because the majority of the sample was non-Hispanic white adults, this may have limited the ability to apply the results to other groups.