A new study by American scientists showed that the benefits of blue fish and their content in omega-3 fatty acids are not limited to protecting the heart. People with high levels of Omega 3 would also have larger brain volumes in old age which would mean preserving their brain health between one and two years, according to new research.
To reach this conclusion, which is published in the online edition of Neurology, the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology, researchers analyzed the levels of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in The red blood cells of 1,111 women
Eight years later, when women had a mean age of 78 years, magnetic resonance imaging was taken to measure their brain volume.
It was found that participants who had higher levels of Omega 3 also had a larger total brain volume. Those with twice the levels of fatty acids (7.5% vs. 3.4%) had a 0.7% larger brain volume in the hippocampus area of the brain, which plays a key role in learning and memory.
These higher levels of fatty acids can be achieved through diet and the use of supplements. The results suggest that the effect on brain volume is the equivalent of delaying between one and two years the normal loss of brain cells that causes aging
Previous studies relate the volume of a person’s brain with its risks of mental deterioration and memory loss. A larger hippocampus would be less likely to suffer from memory loss
The hippocampus and memory
The hippocampus plays a fundamental role in the proper formation and activity of long-term memory and learning. Over the years, the brain performs a process known as neurogenesis (production of cells of the central nervous system (CNS), ie neurons), and the part of the brain where this happens is in the hippocampus.
In diseases such as Alzheimer’s, the hippocampus is one of the first regions of the brain to become damaged. Alzheimer’s disease causes the death of neurons and the loss of tissue throughout the brain. As the death of neurons increases, the affected regions of the brain begin to shrink. As the final phase of the disease approaches, the damage has spread widely and brain tissue has shrunk considerably.
Eat fish lengthens life
People over 65 who eat fish can live an average of two years longer than those who do not consume Omega 3 fatty acids.
High levels of Omega 3 fatty acids in the blood were also associated with a 27% lower risk of death of any type, and a 35% lower risk of death from heart disease than those with lower levels of omega-3 in the blood, The study said.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (especially fatty fish) at least twice a week. Some fatty fish are mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore (or albacore) and salmon. These fish are rich in two classes of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).