1. It was way back in the 1970’s that a link was made between the Greenland Eskimos omega 3-rich diet (salmon, mackerel, herring, anchovies) and their very low rates of cardiovascular disease. Since then, research has shown just how important these omega 3 fats found in oily fish are for protecting many aspects of health including brain function.
2. The typical Western diet is high in fat but predominantly the wrong type of fat. Omega 3 fats are found in rich supply in nuts, seeds and oily fish; foods that are commonly missing from the Western diet. The implications of this for long-term brain function may be profound.
3. Over 60% of the dry weight of the brain is composed of fatty tissue; one third of this fatty tissue is made up of the omega 3 fat DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)
4. DHA is needed for messages to be passed from one nerve cell to another in the brain, and for nerve regeneration and reducing nerve cell damage too.
5. EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) is another important omega 3 fat. EPA doesn’t form part of the brain structure but has significant anti-inflammatory activity. Some studies have found anti-inflammatory drugs to be beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients, suggesting that inflammation may be part of the problem. EPA provides natural anti-inflammatory support and more.
6. Omega 3s have an established role in reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease and stroke, both of which are known risk factors for the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
7. A recent study involving a sub group of patients with mild cognitive dysfunction, treated with EPA/DHA supplements for 6 months, demonstrated a significant reduction in the rate of mental decline compared to the placebo group.
8. Whilst the most obvious way to increase your intake of omega 3s is to eat more oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and anchovies, this comes with problems too. Oily fish is heavily contaminated with environmental toxins such as PCBs and heavy metals such as mercury, which are known to be particularly damaging to the brain.
9. It is now recommended that a daily supplement containing a high level of omega 3s is an important strategy to protect brain health.
10. It is important to ensure that the oil you choose has been thoroughly purified to remove any environmental toxins such as heavy metals. Many cheap brands have not been purified and so may do you more harm than good.
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