Omega 3’s Imperative for Memory

July 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

A study published in the February edition of the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology called Neurology reveals that a diet deficient in omega-3 fatty acids may cause the brain to age more rapidly, as well as lose a decent portion of its memory and thinking abilities.

Omega-3 fatty acids include the nutrients called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). They are typically found in fish, marine and plant oils, eggs, turkey, and some beans and grains.

The study involved 1,575 people free of dementia at an average age of 67 who underwent brain scans, tests to measure mental function, body mass and omega-3 fatty acid levels in their blood. Results showed that people with DHA levels in the bottom 25% had a lower brain volume than those with a higher DHA level. Also those with the lower levels of omega-3 fatty acid levels scored lower on tests for visual memory, and executive functions such as multi-tasking, abstract thinking, and problem solving.

The author of the study is Zaldy S. Tan, M.D., M.P.H., of the Eastern Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research and the Division of Geriatrics, University of California in Los Angeles. He says, “People with lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids had lower brain volumes that were equivalent to about two years of structural brain aging.”

This study was funded by the Framingham Heart Study’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute as well as the National Institute on Aging.


Works Cited

“Low Levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Cause Memory Problems”. (February 28, 2012). Neuroscience News. March 4, 2012.


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