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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