Low Blood Levels of an Omega-3 May Hasten Brain Aging

Logo_Dave_Apple A diet lacking in an omega-3 fatty acid, predominantly found in fish, may cause the brain to age faster and lose some of its memory and thinking abilities, according to the results of a study (released February 28, 2012) by the journal Neurology.

Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles, and other institutions, studied 1,575 men and women age 67, on average, who were free of dementia. All underwent MRI brain scans and tests that measured mental function, body mass and the levels of omega-3 fatty acids, mainly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), in their red blood cells.


Participants whose DHA levels were in the lowest 25 percentile had lower brain volumes compared to participants who had higher DHA levels, according to the report. Those whose omega-3 fatty acids were all in the bottom 25 percent scored lower on tests of visual memory and executive function, such as problem solving, multitasking, and abstract thinking. The MRI results showed a lower brain volume that represents a change equivalent to approximately 2 years of structural brain aging, the researchers reported.

True Health Unlimited’s Take:

The finding of a link between lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and markers of accelerated brain aging must be confirmed in follow-up research. Meanwhile, many population-based studies suggest that increased fish consumption may lower the risk of dementia and cognitive decline.

Generally speaking, most people can get enough omega3s by eating fatty fish—such as salmon and sardines, which are also low in mercury—at least twice a week, while others, particularly non-fish eaters, may be inclined to consider dietary supplementation.



About Dave Barnas, M.S., CES, NASM-CPT

Dave is the true health guy. He is the founder and owner of True Health Unlimited, LLC, a personal health and fitness company in Tolland, CT & Wellness Writers, a subscription wellness newsletter service that incorporates live & virtual wellness workshops for companies across New England. Dave earned both a Bachelor's (1998) and Master's Degree (2000) in Nutritional Science from the University of Connecticut, and also holds certifications as a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Group Instructor, and Nutrition Specialist. He's also the lead author for four published works. Dave has over 20 years of combined experience in nutrition counseling, dietary supplement advising, personal training, corrective exercise training, health coaching and public speaking. In addition, he's spent over 25 years studying spirituality, meditation, and personal growth strategies. Dave's clients are all ages: youth, college championship level athletes, folks in their retired years, and everywhere in between. He's worked with three of the nation's leading physicians as a dietary supplement advisor and been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Yale University, UConn, St. Joseph College and various church groups, health clubs, and high schools. In 2013, he was invited to Whole Foods Market to share his Real Food Therapy Guide. And in 2015, Dave's funny "Snowga" (yoga in the snow) video caught the attention of The National Weather Channel, who aired it to shake off cabin fever and bring laughter. In 2016, Dave & Hollie (his wife) founded Wellness Writers and deliver evidence-based Wellness E-newsletters to spread a message of health and happiness to various businesses throughout the US. Dave currently serves as a personal trainer in Tolland as well as a wellness coach and writer for several businesses, gyms and wellness facilities throughout the US.

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