Researchers have found that there is a correlation between a larger brain volume and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. This suggests that the typical loss of brain cells and volume that occurs with age can be slowed with diet changes and supplements to increase omega-3 intake.
Two types of omega-3 fatty acids in particular–eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)–were examined in the research, which appeared in the journal Neurology. The study included 1,111 subjects, between the ages of 65 and 80 at the start of the trial, from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. Participants had blood samples taken initially to determine levels of red blood cell fatty acids. Then their brain volume was measured using magnetic resonance imaging after a median of eight years.
The findings of the study showed higher blood levels of EPA plus DHA was associated with larger total brain volume, as well as larger hippocampal volume, in the MRI scans. The volume of the hippocampus is significant due to its role in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. These findings suggest the importance of omega-3 implementation for delaying cognitive aging and associated diseases by one to two years.
Source: J.V. Pottala, et al, Higher RCB EPA + DHA corresponds with larger total brain and hippocampal volumes: WHIMS-MRI study, Neurology, Feb. 2014.