Mind & Soul Scientific Research

Omega-3 and Exercise: Why it Matters for Brain Function

Maintaining optimum brain function is essential for good health.

Seniors have an increased chance of memory problems, but studies show that a combination of exercise and omega-3s from fish oil may be key in staving off disease. Both factors show that they independently affect cognitive ability.  For the purpose of seeing how the two can work together to support the brain, researchers examined both diet and exercise.

Omega-3 fatty acids pick up slack

A healthy diet and regular exercise are both important aspects of good health. As a result, it is reasonable that they work better together than separately. Researchers tested this theory by examining whether omega-3 fatty acid intake modified the effects of physical activity in 344 adults.

The results are published in the journal Neuropsychologia. They show that higher levels of omega-3s can cancel out the negative effects of not exercising enough. This means that if you skip the gym, make sure to increase your omega-3 intake to keep your brain healthy. However, increasing your levels of both fatty acids and exercise doesn’t have any additional benefits. As a result, a regular routine is enough.

Combating disease

Why are these polyunsaturated acids important for older adults? Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles reviewed 160 studies that documented effects food has on cognitive ability. The findings showed that a balanced diet paired with regular exercise can help prevent brain diseases. Your diet needs high omega-3s and low saturated fats.

“Dietary deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in humans has been associated with increased risk of several mental disorders, including attention-deficit disorder, dyslexia, dementia, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia,” said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, Ph.D., a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and physiological science. “A deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in rodents results in impaired learning and memory.”

The findings show that combining a healthy diet with exercise has positive effects on the brain. All of the findings can be found in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience. Gomez-Pinilla believes that diet changes have potential to fight the common problems that come with age. He also concluded that healthy diet and exercise can help to decrease the consequences associated with brain injury. He said that there are some people who have naturally healthy genes. Although this may be true, most people have to work for their health. They need to focus on eating right, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. Under those circumstances, they can then reach peak brain health.

The Takeaway

If you’ve been ignoring your diet and skipping exercise, you’re putting yourself at a higher risk for poor brain health. Try to reverse these habits by setting a realistic exercise routine and picking up a fish oil supplement like Omax3.  Most of all, a fatty acid dietary supplement can help fight off disease while you get your body back in shape.

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