3 Important Ways Fish Oil Protects Your Brain
Are you looking for ways to keep your mind healthy and sharp? If so, you’re not alone. Many people rank protecting brain health as a top priority. A thriving mind ensures fulfillment, purpose and happiness.
While many of us know the importance of eating healthy, getting enough sleep and staying mentally active, you can do more to protect your brain health—including boosting your intake of omega-3 fats.
These healthy fats, primarily found in fish oils, have remarkable health benefits. However, many people are not getting enough omega-3s in their diet, leaving them vulnerable to the natural effects of the aging process on the brain.
Read on to learn how fish oil protects your brain, why it’s important to include these fats in your diet sooner than later and where to find them.
Fish Oil Brain Benefits
Fish oil is the best dietary source of the omega-3 fats eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Researchers have extensively studied these oils, commonly found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and trout, for their benefits to the heart and brain.
Specifically, a review of multiple studies found that diets that include plenty of omega-3-rich fish can reduce the risk of developing neurodegenerative conditions. Research has also linked higher blood levels of these fats with superior reasoning abilities, mental flexibility and vocabulary in middle-aged adults.
Several studies have also shown that omega-3 supplementation can improve memory and learning ability in people showing early signs of declining mental sharpness.
There is even evidence that fish oil can improve depressive symptoms. One small study found that boosting omega-3 intake improved subjects' mood and mental vigor while reducing anger and anxious symptoms. Scientists have also observed that people with depressive symptoms tend to have lower EPA and DHA blood levels.
Notably, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of fish oil as a treatment for late-stage cognitive impairment, suggesting omega-3s are best as a preventative measure. In other words, meeting recommended omega-3 intake levels as early as possible is important rather than waiting until cognitive decline sets in.
These fats' beneficial effects on the brain may be due to their unique role in safeguarding against the natural processes of aging linked to cognitive decline.
3 Ways Fish Oil Works To Protect Your Brain
As early as 40, the normal aging process begins to shrink our brains, damage our blood vessels and cause fluctuations in neurotransmitter levels, which can all contribute to cognitive decline.
EPA and DHA in fish oil can protect the brain from this progression, minimizing its effects and supporting optimal brain health.
Including them in your diet can help to:
Support The Structure and Function Of Brain Cells
Your brain is a highly fatty organ, with DHA being one of the most abundant types of fat present, particularly in regions associated with learning and memory.
These fats help build brain cell membranes and support membrane fluidity, which allows neuron cells to communicate effectively via neurotransmitters. Keeping these lines of communication firing on all cylinders means your brain can keep up with its role in directing bodily processes crucial for maintaining physical and mental health.
The amount of DHA in the brain naturally decreases with age, and insufficient levels are one of the factors scientists have linked with brain shrinkage and cognitive decline.
Boosting dietary intake of DHA can improve blood levels of this nutrient, providing a consistent supply to the brain to minimize these natural effects.
Protect Against Neuroinflammation
Chronic inflammation is the root cause of many ailments, and we’re more susceptible to its effects as we age.
The immune cells that direct the inflammatory processes meant to protect us from disease and injury gradually struggle to regulate a healthy balance between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory functions.
The result is a progressive shift to a chronic pro-inflammatory state, which becomes toxic to brain tissue and contributes to several cognitive issues.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help support a healthier inflammatory response by suppressing pro-inflammatory molecules and stimulating anti-inflammatory functions.
Maintain Healthy Blood Flow To The Brain
Omega-3 fatty acids help maintain healthy blood vessels, ensuring a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
Studies have shown that omega-3s lower triglyceride levels (a type of fat in our blood) and prevent plaque buildup in arteries, which could otherwise restrict blood flow to the brain.
Perhaps most importantly, eating plenty of fish—a rich source of omega-3s—has been linked to a reduced risk of stroke, a debilitating brain injury caused by insufficient blood flow to the brain.
The ProHealth Advantage: Ensuring Optimal Fish Oil Intake
Including more fatty fish in your diet is the best way to reap the brain health benefits of EPA- and DHA-rich omega-3 fatty acids. Experts recommend two servings per week to support optimal health.
For a variety of reasons, most people fall short of these recommendations. Certain plant-based foods—like walnuts and flaxseed—contain alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that your body can convert to EPA and DHA. However, this inefficient process is unlikely to meet the levels your body needs.
Supplements are a popular way to close the gap between dietary intake and optimal levels. Your doctor can help determine if this is the right choice.
Choosing a product from a company you trust is essential when considering a supplement. ProHealth conducts third-party testing to ensure the potency and purity of its products meet customers' expectations.
ProHealth Neuronal DHA provides 1000 mg of fish oil—including 500mg DHA and 250mg EPA—in each soft gel capsule. EPA and DHA levels vary widely across supplement options; ProHealth provides a 2:1 ratio of DHA to EPA, which is well suited to support brain health.
- While it is inevitable that our brains age, there are proactive steps you can take to protect your brain health and minimize the effects of aging, including ensuring you meet the recommended intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
- The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA help protect brain cells, support healthier inflammatory responses and support healthy blood flow to the brain. Some research has linked diets rich in these healthy fats with a reduced risk of age-related cognitive decline.
- Including plenty of omega-3-rich fish in your diet is the best way to protect brain health, but many people find it challenging to eat enough to meet their needs. In this case, supplements from trusted providers can help close the gap.
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