Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Brain Health: The Long Game

I was reading several articles in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition a few weeks ago about Omega 3 fatty acids and brain health. Research comes out weekly on the importance of these fats for our brains, but some words stuck with me in this particular AJCN editorial on Omega 3s.
The editorial points to other articles in the issue about the link between Omega 3s and brain health. One article studied people in their 70s and looked at the relationship between cognitive performance and fish intake. The participants with the best cognitive skills ate more fish. In another study, people with high blood levels of Omega 3 fatty acids experienced less cognitive decline.
The studies are not about people already suffering from a cognitive disease, but rather about the decline of brain function as we age. It would appear that Omega 3 intake can prevent disease or at least prevent the speed of decline in cognitive function. The editorial points to the need for more research on prevention of disease.
The words of the author have stayed with me are:

We are well aware from previous work at Oxford that the time frame over which dementia develops and brain volume shrinks can often be measured in decades.

Just for some good repetition:
Our brain volume shrinks over decades.
Omega 3 fatty acids may well be a key to reducing that shrinkage. Read the editorial.
Young or Old: Your Action Item
Younger folks among us may assume that youth is protective from processed and junk food. Indeed, young folks tend to get away with a lot more than they will as those years march on. However, young people need to appreciate the long game they are living with the food choices they make every day. You may be decades away from old age, but this current decade will affect your health four or five decades from now.
Older folks might be discouraged by their past bad decisions and wonder if they really can make an impact on their brain health if brain degeneration takes place over decades. But in the context of brain health, there are studies that show Omega-3s slow the progression of mental decline. Someone otherwise “doomed” to some degree of mental decline might make a change today that will lead to more health years in the future even if the outcome is ultimately the same. That is, you may still be able to capture a whole lot more healthy brain years by taking action now.
What strikes me about whatever our age happens to be is that Chinese Proverb someone who reads this blog once sent me:

The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is today.

So I took the cod liver oil supplement today and made a big Thanksgiving meal pitch to everyone at the table to do so as well. I’ll do the same at Christmas dinner and perhaps will pass out some supplements as gifts. High Omega 3 foods are good options as well. A change in your diet is a critical element in this long-term game. Other food choices you make will affect your need for Omega-3s. Trans fats inhibit your Omega-3 metabolism. A diet high in Omega-6 fatty acids increases your need. You can read a lot on this blog about Omega 3 fatty acids and foods.

One Response to Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Brain Health: The Long Game
  1. Saurabh Saran

    Dear Sir
    I have started the work on the production of omega 3 fatty acid using microbes particulllarly yeast.
    can you help me regading the production condition, detection procedure of these omega fatty acids and other information related to this.
    Thanking you
    Saurabh Saran

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