Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.
“We studied a primary network of the brain — the frontoparietal network – that plays an important role in fluid intelligence and also declines early, even in healthy aging,” commented Marta Zamroziewicz, who is the lead author of both papers. “In a separate study, we examined the white matter structure of the fornix, a group of nerve fibers at the center of the brain that is important for memory.”
In the first study, six omega 3 fatty acids were measured in the plasma of 100 older adults. Fluid intelligence, and frontal and parietal gray matter volume were also assessed. It was determined that higher levels of alpha-linolenic acid, stearidonic acid and eicosatrienoic acid were associated with greater fluid intelligence and gray matter volume of the left frontoparietal cortex.
The second study measured plasma omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, and evaluated memory and regional white matter microstructure in 94 older adults. The researchers found that a balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids was associated with better memory and white matter microstructure of the fornix.
“These findings have important implications for the Western diet, which tends to be misbalanced with high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids and low amounts of omega-3 fatty acids,” Zamroziewicz stated.
“These two studies highlight the importance of investigating the effects of groups of nutrients together, rather than focusing on one at a time,” concluded corresponding author Aron K. Barbey. “They suggest that different patterns of polyunsaturated fats promote specific aspects of cognition by strengthening the underlying neural circuits that are vulnerable to disease and age-related decline.”