Exploratory results examined the link between omega-3 consumption and brain structure and cognitive function in middle-aged people. Good news, even a small consumption of these fatty acids would benefit brain health.
According to a new study published in Neurologythe presence of omega-3 in red blood cells is associated with better brain structure and better cognitive function in healthy 40-somethings.
Diet is a key factor in brain health and in particular omega-3s, which are associated with better neurological outcomes in older adults. As a reminder, omega-3s are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids found mainly in fatty fish, algae and vegetable oils such as walnut, flaxseed or rapeseed oil. However, studies on the association between omega-3s and brain health in middle-aged people are lacking.
Any amount of omega-3 is good for the brain
The research included 2,183 participants with an average age of 46, free of dementia and stroke. Researchers examined the relationship between red blood cell omega-3 concentrations and brain MRI measurements (i.e. total brain volume, total gray matter volume, and hippocampal volume) and cognitive function (episodic memory, processing speed, executive function and abstract reasoning).
Result: it is enough to consume even a little omega-3 to see benefits for the brain. However, a higher Omega-3 Index was associated with larger hippocampal volumes and better abstract reasoning (namely the ability to understand complex concepts using logical reasoning). Additional studies in this age group should confirm these exploratory results.