Higher omega-3 fatty acids levels are linked to greater blood flow in memory and learning areas of the brain, new research finds.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to fight changes in the brain linked to dementia.
Dr Daniel G. Amen, the study’s first author, said:
“This is very important research because it shows a correlation between lower omega-3 fatty acid levels and reduced brain blood flow to regions important for learning, memory, depression and dementia.”
For the research 166 people carried out cognitive tasks while the blood flow in their brains was measured.
Those with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids had greater blood flow through key brain areas.
The most important omega-3 fatty acids here are eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, known as EPA and DHA.
Dr William S. Harris, co-author, said:
“Although we have considerable evidence that omega-3 levels are associated with better cardiovascular health, the role of the ‘fish oil’ fatty acids in mental health and brain physiology is just beginning to be explored.
This study opens the door to the possibility that relatively simple dietary changes could favorably impact cognitive function.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (Amen et al., 2017).