Friday, October 12, 2012

Brain Aging Prevention

More news on the brain aging prevention. Eating a diet that's full of omega-3 fatty acids might just help to prevent memory troubles, as well as slowing down the effects of aging on the brain as the years pass. This comes from a new study that examines the link between levels of omega-3s in the blood and brain health.
The work has found that those with low omega-3 fatty acid levels have more risk of aging related memory problems.
Diets without docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and omega-3s that are a natural part of fish and other foods might lead to the brain aging more quickly. The lower brain volume observed in those with lower levels of omega-3s was equal to around two years of aging of the brain.
Earlier research has shown that those who follow a diet with lots of fatty fish, salmon and tuna are good examples, have a reduced risk of dementia, heart disease and stroke. The results from this most recent work appear to explain why.
The team tested omega-3 fatty acids inside red blood cells for 1,575 seniors (average age was 67) who were dementia free at the time and participating in the Framingham Offspring Study. Subjects were tested for mental ability and had MRI scans of their brains to look at size and blood supply.
Those whose had DHA levels in the lowest 25% showed reduced brain volumes compared to those with higher levels of DHA. What's more, those who had low DHA and were also lacking the other omega-3 fatty acids didn't score as high on visual memory tests, abstract thinking and processing. Brain scans showed that these subjects also had less blood supply in their brain.
The results, the researchers say, demonstrate that low omega-3 fatty acid levels, including DHA, are linked to memory and cognitive function issues even in those who have not been diagnosed with dementia.
The team accounted for different lifestyle and health factors... things like age, education level and body weight, to see if other differences in those with insufficient levels of omega-3 could be found to help understand their rapid brain aging. Yet the difference remained, making it appear even more likely that omega-3 fatty acids are the explanation for the better brain health.
This is not to say that consuming omega-3 fatty acids prevents age related mental decline. It shows only that there could be an association between eating these foods and a healthier brain. There could be other factors, such as fruit and vegetable intake or activity levels responsible for a healthy brain.
Foods known to naturally have lots of this nutrient include oily fish, walnuts, flaxseed and canola oils. You can also get omega-fatty acids from some shellfish and spinach. From this list you can see why fish has earned a reputation as a brain food... omega fatty acids can not be produced by the human body and therefore must be taken in as part of the diet.
Many choose to take docosahexaenoic (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in supplement form, but until we know more, this may not be the best option for everyone. Adding a serving (or two) of some of the foods we've mentioned here is a more natural approach. And be sure to talk with your healthcare team if you're concerned about your personal risks and are looking for brain aging prevention techniques to keep your brain healthy as the years pass.

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