By Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES
As you get older, you may be faced with a number of different health ailments.
In fact, aging is responsible for a number of different problems that can include: lower hormone levels, joint pain, arthritis, eyesight problems, and memory problems.
All of which can be common and very annoying problems.
Aging may also be responsible for the development of cognitive issues, cognitive difficulties, and a higher risk for the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
However, there is evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may slow the rate of cognitive decline and other brain-related declines.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging, could show a positive association with higher omega-3 fatty acids/fish intake as it relates to the development of cognitive issues.
Let me explain…
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cognitive Decline
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown by research to improve many different parameters of health, including heart, eye, and brain health.
Plus, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic properties, which are key factors in future aging individuals.
A group of researchers aimed to see if there was an association between higher intakes of omega-3 fatty acids or fish as it relates to brain health and cognitive difficulties.
The author of this study evaluated participants over a 13-year period, tracking dietary intake as well as cognitive difficulties.
Cognitive difficulties, according to these researchers, could be an early indicator of cognitive decline in older adults.
They recruited 3,294 people who were members of the SU.VI.MAX (Supplementation with Antioxidants, Vitamins, and Minerals) study.
Each individual received a thorough, standardized medical evaluation which included assessments for cognitive tests and cognitive difficulties.
They also took data on dietary intake through a repeated 24-hour dietary assessment.
Over the course of 13 years, they found that people with the highest intake of omega-3 fatty acids and EPA reported less cognitive difficulties, compared to the lowest intake and after adjustments for depression symptoms.
They showed a borderline significant association between higher fish consumption and lower self-reported cognitive difficulties.
Through their work, they concluded that cognitive difficulties (an early indicator of future cognitive decline) could be less frequent in people who have a higher intake of both omega-3 fatty acids and fish.
This study shows promise, but still needs more research to verify the included findings. However, this could provide a new treatment option for cognitive decline and cognitive difficulties in older adults, who may be at risk for brain and cognitive issues.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Your Health
According to clinical studies, omega-3 fatty acids could possess many different properties that may improve many parameters of health.
They have been shown to improve heart health, brain health, eye health, and may even contribute benefits to diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance.
However, as you age, there may be concerns as they relate to brain health and cognitive performance.
Now, according to the results of this study, higher omega-3 fatty acid/fish consumption could be associated with less cognitive difficulties, which may slow cognitive decline in elderly populations.
Including fatty fish, krill supplementation, and some nuts and seeds into your daily routine, may provide you with adequate omega-3 fatty acid levels, which could improve many different aspects of your health.
Emannuelle Kesse-Guyot, S. Peneau, M. Ferry, C. Jeandel, S. Hercberg, P. Galan and The SU.VI.MAX 2 research Group. Thirteen-year prospective study between fish consumption, long-chain n-3 fatty acid intakes and cognitive function. The Journal Of Nutrition, Health, & Aging. 2010. doi: 10.1007/s12603-010-0318-0.