Omega-3s shown to protect the aging brain
According to a recent study, people who are at high risk for developing Alzheimer's and other aging-related cognitive issues should try adding more omega-3 fatty acids to their diets. Consuming these fatty acids preserves cognitive flexibility, or the ability to easily switch between mental tasks, in adults who are at risk of developing Alzheimer's.
Published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, the study analyzed health data from 40 adults between the ages of 65 and 75 who carried a gene variant that put them more at risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease. The researchers tested the participants' cognitive flexibility, measured their levels of two fatty acids and took MRI scans of their brains.
The participants who had higher levels of the two omega-3 fatty acids tended to perform better on the researchers' cognitive flexibility tests. The researchers also noticed differences in the size of the anterior cingulate cortex, which is responsible for maintaining cognitive flexibility, between participants who consumed more and fewer omega-3 fatty acids. Those who consumed more had a larger average size for this part of the brain.
"Our findings add to the evidence that optimal nutrition helps preserve cognitive function, slow the progression of aging, and reduce the incidence of debilitating diseases in healthy aging populations," Barbey said in a statement.
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