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Monthly 3D Poll

2014-02-05

Omega-3s Help Slow Brain Shrinkage in Elderly

This study reflects the results of another study I covered almost two years ago. In this new study, researchers analysed data from 1,111 women who were part of the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study. Levels of the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, were measured in the women's red blood cells (RBC), and brain volumes were measured by MRI eight years later (when the women were an average age of 78).

Levels of the omega-3s in the RBC is called the "omega-3 index," which is a much more accurate measure of the efficacy of omega-3s than bioavailability data (which just measures these floating around in the blood plasma).

The MRI imaging, which looked at total brain volume and various anatomical regions, found that an omega-3 index that was 1 SD (standard deviation) greater was correlated with 2.1 cm3 greater
brain volume (when broken down, the link was stronger for DHA than EPA).

From the analyses on anatomical regions, a higher omega-3 index was correlated with larger hippocampal volume (important for memory) in postmenopausal women. "While normal aging results in overall brain atrophy, lower omega-3 index may signal increased risk of hippocampal
atrophy," said the researchers.

So make sure you're taking your omega-3s! To close this post, I should point out that krill oil has been shown to have a higher omega-3 index than any other source of omega-3.

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Source: Higher RBC EPA + DHA corresponds with larger total brain and hippocampal volumes

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