Smarter with omega-3 fatty acids? Study shows effects

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Of: Juliane Gutman


Consuming all important nutrients promotes physical and mental fitness. A new study suggests that omega-3 fatty acids have a positive effect on brain performance.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in walnuts, flax seeds and various types of fish such as salmon or mackerel. The fatty acid is important for the structure of human cells such as nerve cells and in the production of hormones. The NDR “Die Nutrition Docs” format also lists studies that show that omega-3 fatty acids can boost the immune system and reduce inflammatory processes.

American researchers have now come to the conclusion that omega-3 fatty acids also have a significant impact on our brain performance. “In multivariate models, a higher omega-3 index was associated with greater hippocampal volume and better abstract thinking,” they conclude from their study, published in the journal Neurology has been published.

Walnuts contain a relatively large amount of valuable omega-3 fatty acids. © Robert Kalb/Imago

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Omega-3 fatty acids support brain performance, study finds

According to the study authors, the hippocampus benefits from an adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids. The area of ​​the brain is not only responsible for long-term memory. According to the medical journal, researchers from University Hospital Bonn, Ruhr University Bochum, Aachen and Birmingham have come to the conclusion that the hippocampus is also involved in resolving fast and successful conflicts.

Dr. Claudia L. Satizabal from the Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s & Neurodegenerative Diseases at the University of Texas at San Antonio and her team studied how the level of omega-3s in the body affects the activity of the hippocampus. Data from 2,183 adult study participants were analyzed for this purpose. MRIs and cognitive tests were used to determine the state of their brain performance. As the medical journal further informs, the study authors estimated the intake of omega-3 fatty acids based on the concentration of DHA and EPA (docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, both acids omega-3 fatty acids) in erythrocytes (specific blood cells). After evaluating the data, it was shown that study participants with increased concentrations of DHA and EPA had increased hippocampal volume. The researchers concluded, “Our results suggest that higher concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with better brain structure and better cognitive function in a predominantly middle-aged cohort.”

Nutrition survey

Do not supplement with omega-3 fatty acids without medical advice

Anyone who now puts fish and omega-3 fatty acids on their shopping list as dietary supplements should take a break. The researchers stress that the results of their study are not sufficient to make general recommendations. More studies are needed to confirm the study results, he said.

Please refrain from taking dietary supplements without medical advice. Otherwise, there is a risk of overdose and adverse drug interactions.

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