It is often said that that fish is ‘brain food’ and there is good evidence that eating fish, which contains omega 3, is not only good for your health, but can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
A recent study by scientists with the Fatty Acid Research Institute found that people with high amounts of the omega 3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are 49% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease in the future than those with low DHA levels in their blood.
The findings reinforce the importance of eating foods such as tuna, salmon, and walnuts. All are high sources of omega 3. This latest study supports past evidence linking the importance of omega 3 to brain health.
What is Omega 3?
Omega 3 is a kind of fat found in cell membranes (the protective ‘skin’ that surrounds cells). It is made in our bodies, but very slowly, so we mostly get it from our diet. Oily fish, such as mackerel, tuna, herring and salmon have especially high levels of omega 3.
Omega 3 is important for our brain throughout life, from early cognitive development in foetuses to learning and memory in adults. Studies have shown a deficiency of omega 3 in the mothers of children with learning difficulties.
When omega 3 is taken up by the body, some of it is broken down into other molecules that have important roles in the brain. Some are found to reduce the body’s immune response, while others are thought to be involved in protecting cells from a harmful process called oxidative stress. Research has indicated that the immune response and oxidative stress in the brain may contribute towards the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.
What do the studies show?
There is a lot or research in favour of supplementing with omega 3. Does more omega 3 in the diet really affect the risk of developing dementia? Some studies have looked at what people with and without dementia eat, and how often, and then followed them to see whether diet affected dementia risk. Other studies were clinical trials, where some participants are given omega 3 supplements and others a placebo, and their risk of dementia is compared.
One study that followed 2,233 older people for five or six years found that eating fish twice a week could reduce dementia risk by 41% compared to groups eating fish once a month.
Another study looked at giving supplements to people who were healthy but were beginning to show some symptoms of dementia, such as difficulty with memory recall. This study involved 437 people and indicated that after 24 weeks of taking the supplement, some kinds of memory recall and learning were improved. This could suggest that taking omega 3 supplements early on in dementia development may improve symptoms.
From the available evidence, eating fish regularly as part of a balanced diet could reduce your risk of age-related cognitive decline and improve other aspects of your health. Omega 3s are also natural anti-inflammatories so great for reducing the symptoms of arthritis and joint stiffness, especially in the winter months, as well as helping to keep internal and external skin strong and supple.
For a recent update on the effect of omega 3s in Alzheimer’s Disease, you can read more here.
To ensure you are consuming enough omega 3s, I recommend taking one of my high-strength Omega 3 capsules, made with cold-pressed fish oil from anchovies, high in EPA and DHA, fished from a sustainable source in the deep Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru.
Laura has started to take my Omega 3 capsules to look after her brain health after sustaining an injury. Here’s what she had to say about the capsules:
To sum up, omega 3s have been shown to have numerous beneficial effects ranging from heart health, to eyesight, to cognitive health and increased prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease. I recommend that every individual, especially those at a higher risk of Alzheimer’s Disease should make a proactive effort to supplement their diet with omega 3s, either through food choices or supplementation.
If you have any questions about any of our supplements, please get in touch.