Omega-3s Improve Memory, Prevent Cognitive Decline
The key to improving our brains is Omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids have long been linked to improved cerebral function. A recent study conducted by researchers at Brown University and the Rhode Island Hospital and published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia has found even more evidence in favor of the correlation. When given to patients, omega-3 fish oil supplements reduced the progression of age-related memory loss.
What are Fish Oil Omega-3s?
Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fish oil. The three primary fatty acids are Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), mainly found in flaxseed, soybean, canola oil, and chia seed. EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish and other seafood.
The types of fish that produce EPA and DHA include anchovies, salmon, tuna, herring, and mackerel. Omega-3 oil has many astonishing benefits in the human body, including resolving inflammation, boosting mood, supporting heart health, supporting eye health and improving cognitive performance.
How do Omega-3s Affect the Brain?
EPA and DHA are essential in healthy brain development and cognitive functions, as well as facilitating healthy growth in young children.
While the two omega-3 fatty acids are essential for babies’ growth, they are equally crucial for pregnant mothers who consume them throughout their pregnancy. Studies show that when kids are born to mothers with adequate omega-3 in their blood, they have increased intelligence and better brain function during their childhood.
The omega 3 fatty acids accumulate in the cell membranes of brain cells, where they maintain the cell membrane and promote communication between other brain cells. It’s believed when children have low DHA levels, they can suffer from poor memory performance and have difficulty learning new information.
Adults can also experience low DHA levels if they aren’t getting enough in their diet, which might increase the risk of cognitive issues later in life. So, getting adequate omega-3 fatty acids is essential for brain health throughout our lives.
Can Fish Oil Help with Memory Loss?
Memory loss is a symptom that impacts brain function in millions of older adults across the world. Some memory loss symptoms are not medical conditions and can include foggy brain or forgetfulness related to hormone fluctuations or general aging. Other memory loss symptoms related to diseases such as dementia, are medical conditions that require diagnosis and treatment.
While finding a dietary supplement for improving memory in such a huge population would be a great discovery, at this time researchers have not been able to prove that omega-3 fatty acids can improve brain function in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
However, some studies do show that taking omega-3 EPA and DHA can support memory function and brain health in healthy people or people with mild memory loss symptoms. Studies have shown it’s best to take fish oil supplements during the early stages of life, as they have the most benefits compared to when you are older.
Does Fish Oil Help with Memory?
EPA and DHA fatty acids from fish oil are believed to promote good brain health, which is vital to thinking and memory. “Increased fish intake has overall health benefits associated with a decreased rate of memory loss (related to aging) in adults,” says Dr. P. Agarwal, a nutritional epidemiologist and assistant professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
According to a 2015 study in Alzheimer’s and Dementia, health experts also recommend eating fish and vegetables at least twice a week to improve memory performance. They stated that healthy servings of fish and vegetables can help to delay mental conditions related to aging.
It’s worth noting that to enjoy the full benefits associated with fish oils, we need to consume actual fatty fish, not just rely on fish oil supplements. But many people don’t eat fatty fish 2-3 times a week and are eating too many saturated fats and inflammation producing foods. In this case, taking fish oil supplements is a great option to begin to improve your health.
Does Fish Oil Make You Smarter?
When your mother used to tell you that fish could help you become sharper in school, she was right! This old narrative was not just a myth! Advanced health researchers from The American Heart Association have proved that the fish oil you get from eating fish each week is good for your brain and memory.
So, if you are not eating fatty fish 2-3 times a week, then you need to supplement with a high quality, EPA and DHA rich omega-3 fish oil supplement.
Should You Take Fish Oil Supplements, Eat Fish, or Focus on Omega-3s?
The best thing for your health is to consistently eat whole fatty fish 2-3 times a week to get the full health benefits of fish oil. “People who regularly eat fish their whole life have improved cognitive ability compared to those who rarely include it in their weekly diet.” This is according to research carried out by Rush University and published in the Neurology May 2016 issue.
There are no conclusive findings on research based on the benefits of fish oil supplements compared to eating actual fish itself. But we do know, if you are not eating fish consistently, you would benefit from taking omega 3 fish oil supplements.
Does Fish Oil Help with Brain Fog?
Brain fog is when our thinking becomes slow because of certain deficiencies in our blood. Omega-3 fish might help you improve your thinking if you have these fatty acid deficiencies. According to the Lipids in Health and Disease journal, “People suffering from brain fog have low cognitive ability compared to those with higher omega-3 acids intake.” In addition, fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties that protect the brain from damage and aging caused by free radicals. Considering this, if you have brain fog, it wouldn’t hurt to consume a daily dose of 1500 mg of omega-3 fish oil supplements with at least 90% omega-3 from EPA and DHA. You should be able to see a difference in 4-6 weeks of consistent use.
Forging ahead through research
Millions of American experience normal cognitive decline every year. According to the government figures, more than 5 million Americans are living with the condition. A new person develops a similar condition every 67 seconds. And, as of 2014, it has been estimated that treatment for age-related memory loss will cost the country $241 billion.
To investigate the role of omega-3s in this process, Lori Daiello, Pharm.D., professor of neurobiology and lead author of the study, looked at seniors. She gathered 229 health seniors, 397 with mild cognitive impairment and 193 patients with significant cognitive decline. Over a five year period, Daiello surveyed the subjects on their current use of omega-3 supplements. She also looked at any medications they were taking in addition to the supplements.
The study found that subjects who took omega-3 supplements showed significant improvements in their mental state. Omega-3 exposure also produced observable changes in structures within the brain. This included increased ventricular and cerebral cortex gray matter volume – areas associated with healthy cognitive functioning.
The length of time taking Omega-3s has an overall effect.
The study also explained that the length of omega-3 exposure may have a significant influence on the nutrient’s overall effects. Other studies have proved the effectiveness of long-term omega-3 exposure. However, combating cognitive decline means that patients need to begin taking the supplements in middle age. Why? Because it is a preventative measure before the effects of age-related memory loss set in.
Daiello said in a statement:
“The field is currently engaged in numerous studies to find better treatments for people suffering with [cognitive decline]; however, researching ways to prevent [age-related memory loss] or slow cognitive decline in normal aging is of utmost importance. These findings are promising and highlight the need for future studies to expand the current knowledge of the effects of [fish oil supplement] use on cognitive aging and [normal cognitive decline.]”
For the best results, the ultra pure omega-3 found in Omax3 fish oil supplements is specially formulated to include only the most useful forms of the nutrient. With Omax3, the body uses every bit of the supplements to preserve brain function well into old age.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.