|Results of recent studies give a whole new meaning to the expression ‘fat head.’ In fact, some fats are a smart choice for your brain.
In the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, researchers studied 2,251 individuals (aged 50-65) and determined that higher intake and blood levels of omega 3 fats were associated with reduced risk of age-related cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The study also showed that higher blood levels of omega 3 fats helped reduce the risk of decline in verbal fluency. Results mirrored in other research followed 210 men aged 70-89 for five years. It concluded that participants who consumed an average of 400 mg of omega 3 fats (from fish) daily had significantly less decline in thought processes over the five year period than those who consumed approximately 20 mg per day.
The Framingham Heart Study showed that people with the highest blood levels of omega 3 fats (phosphatidylcholine DHA) had a 47% lower risk of developing all-cause dementia than those with the lowest levels. Also, Alzheimer’s patients have less omega 3 DHA in the brain regions most affected by the disease.
Healthy fats do healthy things
We know that omega 3 fats help reduce inflammation in the body, and studies now suggest they also reduce brain inflammation. Omega 3 fats also increase blood circulation to brain cells and reduce abnormal clots in blood vessels within the brain. More recently, omega 3 fats have been shown to improve nerve transmission among brain cells and support repair of brain cells.
The accumulation of amyloid plaque (a protein) in brain cells is a hallmark feature of Alzheimer’s disease, and considered the main culprit leading to the brain cell disruption that causes memory loss, confusion and personality changes. Recent research suggests that omega 3 fats also inhibit the build up of amyloid plaque in brain cells by increasing the number of LR11 receptors in brain cells. The presence of these receptors (a lipoprotein receptor) has been shown to block the build up of amyloid plaque in brain cells.
Feed your brain
Aim to eat three to four servings of fish a week. I top up with 2-3 capsules of a daily supplement containing 400 mg each of fish oil, flaxseed and borage seed oil. If you’re allergic to fish or seafood, opt for 1200 mg flaxseed oil supplement (2-3 capsules) daily. Try 8 oz of a new salba grain beverage called Salba Olé containing 1200 mg of omega 3 fats per 8 oz serving. A good source of fibre and calcium, this drink can help you address some common nutrient deficiencies. Feeding your brain cells with the adequate nutrients will keep it healthy and functioning properly. H&L
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Dr. Meschino is a Fellow of the Academy of Anti-Aging Research; associate professor at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College; guest lecturer at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine; post-graduate faculty member of the American Council on Exercise; author of several nutrition and wellness books; product formulator for Adeeva Nutritionals.