Fatty Fish Could Be the Key to Agile Thinking in Middle Age

Over 68 percent of adults and 95 percent of children in the US do not consume enough Omega-3s to meet the US Dietary Guidelines.

Omega-3 deficiency is linked to a host of health issues, including heart and vision problems, and inflammatory diseases. Growing research also shows that the foods we eat impact us mentally, with gut-healthy foods also helping to stave off depression.

A new study by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has found that Omega-3s can also improve brain structure and cognition in middle age.

Fatty Fish

Wild salmon, tuna, herring, cod, or sardines are all excellent sources of Omega-3s and by the looks of it, Americans need to be consuming more of these foods. The study, undertaken on people in their 40s and 50s, showed that having at least some Omega-3s in one’s blood cells was linked to a better brain structure and cognitive functioning among healthy people.

Previous studies had focused on the benefits of Omega-3s for seniors. The new research shows that middle-aged people can also harness the power of Omega-3s.

Those who do not have enough access to fatty fish can speak to their doctors about the suitability of Omega-3 supplements.

As there are many supplements on the market, prior to making a choice, checking out reviews on supplements can help consumers make a wise, reasonably priced choice. 

How Do Omega-3s Improve Brain Health?

The study showed that higher Omega-3 intakes were associated with a larger hippocampal volume.

The hippocampus is a part of the brain that plays an important role in learning and memory. Omega-3s were also linked to improved abstract reasoning and the ability to comprehend difficult concepts with the aid of logic.

Omega-3s had a third benefit for middle-aged study participants: they helped lower the rate of small vessel disease in people with a gene called APOE4.

This gene is linked to vascular dementia and cardiovascular disease.

DHA and EPA Protect the Brain

DHA and EPA are the two Omega-3 essential fatty acids that have the strongest protective effect on the brain. The reason for their benefits is not fully known.

However, scientists believe it has something to do with the fact that they are needed in the membrane that covers neurons. For some reason, when they are replaced with other fatty acids, the neurons lose stability. The scientists concluded that even when people slightly increase their Omega-3 fatty acid consumption, the results are notable.

They added that the benefits of APOE4 were important since genetics cannot be changed. However, there is now a modifiable risk factor that can combat genetic predisposition, and that is none other than Omega-3s.

A new study has found that Omega-3s can protect the brain health of middle-aged healthy people. The findings are new since previously, this benefit had only been shown in older people.

The study also poses great promises for people with the APOE4 gene, since it can help them reduce their chances of developing disease.