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Omega-3 claims backed up


Those of us with higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may also have larger brain volumes in our advanced years, is equivalent to preserving one-to-two years of brain health, according to a study published recently in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Shrinking brain volume is a sign of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as diminishing brain capacity and normal aging decline. The result were part of a study, measuring the levels of omega-3 fatty acids EPA+DHA in red blood cells were tested in 1,111 women who were part of the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. Almost a decade later, when the women were an average age of 78, MRI scans were taken to measure their brain volume.

Those with higher levels of omega-3s had larger total brain volumes. Those with twice as high levels of fatty acids (7.5 vs 3.4 per cent) had a 0.7 per cent larger brain volume. “These higher levels of fatty acids can be achieved through diet and the use of supplements, and the results suggest that the effect on brain volume is the equivalent of delaying the normal loss of brain cells that comes with ageing by one-to-two years,” said study author James Pottala, PhD, of the University of South Dakota in the US.

Those with higher levels of omega-3s also had a 2.7 per cent larger volume in the hippocampus area of the brain, which plays an important role in memory. In Alzheimer’s disease, the hippocampus begins to atrophy even before symptoms appear.

REFERENCE: ‘Higher RBC EPA + DHA corresponds with larger total brain and
hippocampal volumes.’


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