A diet high in Omega Three Fatty Acid called docosahexenoic acid or DHA, helps protect the brain against cell damage as well as memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study by researchers at University of South Dakota.
The findings, reported in the medical journal American Academy of Neurology, suggests that higher omega-3 fatty acid levels protect the brain from volume loss due to aging and Alzheimer’s and even increase brain health by two years.
For their study, University of South Dakota researchers tested 1,111 post-menopausal women with an average age of 70 years from Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. Eight years later, when the women were aged around 78, MRI scans had been taken to measure their brain volume.
Study author James Pottala, of the University of South Dakota in Sioux Falls and Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. in Richmond, Virginia, said “Our study suggests that a higher tissue reserve of omega-3 fatty acids may slow the loss of cognitive function that can accompany brain atrophy.” “These higher levels of fatty acids can be achieved through diet and the use of supplements, and the results suggest that the effect on brain volume is the equivalent of delaying the normal loss of brain cells that comes with aging by one to two years.”
Previous studies have shown that taking fish oil supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids could reduce the risk of heart disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are essential for the neural development. These fatty acids are found in abundance in salmon, walnuts and kiwi fruit. Consumers must always remember a balanced diet is the key for better overall health, but as the above paper suggests, it may help preserve brain health as well.