Preserve and Protect Your Brain with Fish Oil

Preserve and Protect Your Brain with Fish Oil

Fish oil is the biggest selling nutraceutical supplement in the world, and for good reason. There is an incredible amount of evidence for its health benefits and, given omega-3 fatty acids are an essential component of every single one of our cells’ membranes, it’s no surprise that I believe everyone should be taking it either! One of the key indications for fish oil is cognition and brain health. Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA for short, is a prominent fatty acid in our brain that is critical for optimal function. And this report just adds to what we know about how good omega-3 fatty acids are for our brain. Higher Omega-3 Levels = Less Brain Shrinkage With Age On January 22nd of this year, the journal Neurology® published an online report that  revealed an association between higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and greater brain volume in older age. “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,” commented lead author James V. Pottala, PhD, of the University of South Dakota in Sioux Falls. The study included 1,111 participants in the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study, which was a subset study of subjects enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative. Subjects were between the ages of 65 to 80 years upon enrollment. Blood samples were analysed for red blood cell fatty acid levels (the best way to measure...
Omega 3 Improves Your Memory

Omega 3 Improves Your Memory

The journal PLOS One published an article on October 3, 2012 that reveals a benefit for supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids on working memory in young men and women. University of Pittsburgh researchers led by Rajesh Narendran of the Department of Radiology tested the effects of a supplement providing 930 milligrams eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 750 milligrams docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in 11 men and women between the ages of 18 and 25. Evaluation of working memory (via an “n-back test”), positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of the brain and tests for red blood cell fatty acid levels were conducted before and after the six month treatment period. Participants experienced an increase in plasma omega-3 fatty acid levels and improvement in working memory at the end of six months. “What was particularly interesting about the presupplementation n-back test was that it correlated positively with plasma omega-3,”observed Bita Moghaddam, whose lab conducted the research. “This means that the omega-3s they were getting from their diet already positively correlated with their working memory.” “Before seeing this data, I would have said it was impossible to move young healthy individuals above their cognitive best,” he remarked. “We found that members of this population can enhance their working memory performance even further, despite their already being at the top of their cognitive game.” Although the researchers had suggested increases in dopamine storage and a protein involved in decision making in a particular area of the brain as mechanisms supporting omega-3’s effect on cognitive function, PET scan results failed to support the hypothesis. “It is really interesting that diets enriched with omega-3 fatty acid can...
Resistance Training emerging as Particularly Valuable for Older Adults

Resistance Training emerging as Particularly Valuable for Older Adults

Four studies reported today at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference(R) 2012 (AAIC(R) 2012) describe the ability of targeted exercise training to promote improved mental functioning and reduced risk for cognitive impairment and dementia in cognitively healthy older adults and those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The reports, from 6- and 12-month randomised controlled clinical trials, depict the beneficial effects of different types of exercise – resistance training, aerobic training, and balance-stretching training – on a variety of cognitive abilities, brain structure, functional neural plasticity, growth factors, and risk factors for cognitive decline such as depression and sleep quality. “Currently, the strongest data for lifestyle-based Alzheimer’s risk reduction is for physical activity, yet this data is generally observational and considered preliminary”, said William Thies, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association(R) Chief Medical and Scientific Officer. “These new intervention studies are taking place over longer periods of time to begin to clarify exactly which types of physical activity are most effective, how much needs to be done, and for how long. In particular, where previously we had seen positive associations between aerobic activity, particularly walking, and cognitive health, these latest studies show that resistance training is emerging as particularly valuable for older adults.” It is generally accepted that regular physical activity is essential to healthy ageing; it also may prove to be a strategy to delay or prevent the onset of cognitive impairment and dementia. “It is very important to learn more about factors that actually raise and lower risk for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. To do that, we need long-term studies in large, diverse populations, and we need the research funding to conduct...