Omega 3 Fats Are Critical For A Healthy Brain

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia in older adults. Research has shown that people with a higher dietary intake of fish are less likely to suffer with impaired cognitive function, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

There are 2 essential fatty acids in fish oil: EPA (eicosahexanoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid). It is thought that DHA has protective effects on the brain.  It’s not just older adults who benefit from DHA; it is also critically important for brain development in infants, and for healthy cognition and mood in students and young adults. Your brain is mostly made of fat; therefore the fat you eat makes up the structure of your brain. Many people have a diet that is high in omega 6-rich vegetable oils, such as sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil and canola oil. These fats are highly inflammatory and can significantly impair brain function and structure.

It can be quite difficult to obtain sufficient DHA through diet alone, unless you eat a lot of oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, herrings and anchovies. Pasture raised meat, poultry and eggs are a good source of omega 3 fats, but much of this produce is raised on grains, rather than pasture. If your diet is lacking good sources of omega 3 fats, you may benefit from a fish oil supplement.

Morris MC, Evans DA, Bienias JL, et al. Consumption of fish and n-3 fatty acids and risk of incident Alzheimer disease. Arch Neurol. 2003;60(7):940-946
van Marum RJ. Current and future therapy in Alzheimer’s disease. Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2008;22(3):265-274