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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Signs Of Brain Aging Are Linked To Omega-3 Intake

Older women with higher levels of Omega-3 in their blood had slightly less brain shrinkage than women with low fatty acids levels, in a new study. The results may suggest that Omega-3s protect the rain from loss of volume that happens with normal aging and is seen more severely in people with dementia, the researcher say. "The brain gets smaller during the normal aging process- about 0.5 percent per year after age 70, but dementia is associated with an accelerated and localized process of brain shrinkage," said James Potalla who led the study. Potalla and his colleagues analyzed data from Women's Health Initiative Memory Study to see whether Omega-3s were associated with brain shrinkage in general and in specific brain regions involved in memory and other cognitive processes. The data covered 1,111 women, who were on average, 70-years-old and had no signs of dementia at the beginning of the study. At that time, the amount of fatty acids eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and decosahexaenoic (DHA) in their red blood cells were measured. Red blood cells levels of Omega- 3s are good indicators of how much a person has consumed, the researchers say. Eight years after the women's blood was tested, they underwent MRIs to measure gray matter and white matter in their brains. The researchers found that the women with highest blood levels of EPA and DHA at the study's out set had brains that were two cubic centimeters larger overall than the women with lowest blood levels. Potalla says high Omega-3 blood levels can be achieved by dietary changes, such as eating oily fish twice a week or taking fish oil supplement.

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