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Omega-3 to Prohibit Brain Shrinkage and Preserve a Youthful Mind

side view of pink animated brain When I talk with my patients about their health needs their overarching concern is not dying as much as developing Alzheimer’s disease or having a disabling stroke. Maintaining a sharp mind is key to living a healthy lifestyle, and we’re discovering that consuming plenty of omega-3 is critical to long-term brain health.*
Let’s first break down omega-3. The two most important omega-3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA. While both confer an array of health benefits, scientific literature points to DHA as more important for supporting healthy brain structure and function.* This is because DHA is the most abundant omega-3 fat in the brain. Helping to keep the membranes of brain neurons soft, supple and youthful. Decreased levels of omega-3, especially DHA, have been associated with cognitive decline.*1
A gold standard randomized placebo controlled trial of omega-3 in 240 people over 65 and with mild cognitive impairment was recently published in August 2016 issue of The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.2 Half of the group was randomized to receive 2 grams of DHA per day for 12 months, the other half got a look-alike placebo. After one year, compared to the placebo control group, the group given DHA showed significantly less brain shrinkage.
There were also significant differences in the Full-Scale Intelligence Quotient, the total volume of the hippocampus, a region of the brain that plays a role in memory and spatial navigation, and volume of the cerebrum, another region of the brain that deals with thought processes and movement.*
Similarly, a 2015 study studying the association between fish oil supplement use and brain volume found correlations between omega-3 intake and less shrinkage of the hippocampus and cerebral cortex gray matter, the parts of the brain that control higher thinking and action.* 3
Typically the brain shrinks as we age and as the neurons shrivel our thinking power is diminished. A plump, fully functional, youthful brain promotes a sharp mind, quick thinking, and preserved abilities to learn new things and adapt to change regardless of your age.
Take home message: eat fish and seafood regularly, and take a highly purified and concentrated omega-3 supplement that contains both DHA and EPA to keep your brain plump and your mind sharp as decades roll by.
In Good Health,
James O’Keefe, MD, FACC
CardioTabs Founder
Picture Credit: Pixabay
  1. Karin Yurko-Mauro, Deanna McCarthy, Dror Rom, Edward B. Nelson, Alan S. Ryan, Andrew Blackwell, Norman Salem Jr., Mary Stedman. Beneficial effects of docosahexaenoic acid on cognition in age-related cognitive decline. Alzheimer's and Dementia, 2010; 6 (6): 456
  2. Yan-Ping Zhang*, Rujuan Miao*, Qing Li, Tianfeng Wu, Fei Ma. (August 2016). “Effects of DHA Supplementation on Hippocampal Volume and Cognitive Function in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A 12-Month Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial”. The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 55:497
  3. Daiello, L.A.; Gongvatana, A.; Dunsiger, S.; Cohen, R.A.; Ott, B.R. Association of fish oil supplement use with preservation of brain volume and cognitive function. Alzheimer’s Dement. 2015, 11, 226–235