New Study: Higher Omega 3 In Mid-Life Prevents Brain Shrinkage & Protects Cognition
While I’ve long been recommending you increase and maintain dietary fats levels, I know a few people out there still fear the fat.
Well, fear no more! A recent study published in the journal Neurology shows that omega-3 fatty acids are essential for maintaining cognitive health and preventing brain shrinkage.
The researchers followed 2,183 dementia- and stroke-free participants with a mean age of 43, tracking their omega-3 levels at the start of the study and measuring their brain volume and cognitive performance at the end.
The results showed that those with higher omega-3 levels in mid-life were much less likely to suffer from brain shrinkage and cognitive decline.
“Our results, albeit exploratory, suggest that higher Omega-3 fatty acid concentrations are related to better brain structure and cognitive function in a predominantly middle-aged cohort free of clinical dementia.”
Those with higher omega-3 concentrations had larger hippocampal volumes and lower white matter hyperintensity burden.
(Note: white matter hyperintensity volume is associated with age-related brain disease and cognitive decline, increased risk of stroke, depression, dementia and impaired mobility).
This study is yet another reminder of the importance of omega-3 fatty acids for maintaining optimal health.
Of course, omega 3s are just one piece in the puzzle — your overall diet plays a major role as well. There is similar data for several minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and other fats such as saturated fats C8, C10, and C12.
How Much Omega 3 Do I Need?
You should aim to consume at least 3 tablespoons (3,000mg) of omega-3 daily. There is no real upper limit, the body works quite easily with omega 3 and there isn’t really such a thing as too much.
(Of course, you can overdo anything, but in reality, it would be really hard to do, and kinda weird. You would certainly vomit before anything bad happened.)
The easiest, most reliable way to guarantee you hit this baseline of 3g per day is to use a high-quality omega 3 supplement.
The body works best with EPA and DHA, which is largely going to come from marine sources, but it can work well with ALA too from plant sources.
If you are NOT vegan or vegetarian, a combination is good, with a leaning more towards the EPA/DHA from marine sources.
I also like to include a phospholipid too. This contains omega-3 in a format that can cross the blood-brain barrier, and thus has a stronger cognitive benefit.
My product recommendations are:
- Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega
- Nordic Naturals Phospholipid (take every 2nd day to spread cost)
- Vegan DHA from Naturelo
Alkaline Food Sources of Omega-3
Try to get these types of foods daily to supplement the supplement!
- Leafy greens (surprisingly high in omega-3)
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds and oil
- Flax seeds and oil
- Brussel sprouts
- Kidney beans
Plus of course oily fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel…and if you want to really ramp up the phospholipids, go for roe.
The omega 3s have a wide range of benefits for the brain, body, and skin. So don’t be scared of the fat – embrace it!
Incorporate omega-3 fatty acids into your daily diet and supplementation regime to protect your brain from shrinkage and cognitive decline now and in the future. Your future self will thank you!