Two recent studies indicate a correlation between fish oil and brain function, both in terms of maintaining brain health and cognitive ability while aging and also increasing recovery from strokes.
According to research done by the Rhode Island Hospital’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center, taking fish oil supplements aids with both the aging process and daily brain health. The study followed over 800 patients, periodically testing them and conducting MRIs.
People who tested negative for genetic Alzheimer’s risk factors but who consumed fish oil supplementation scored higher on measurements of cognitive functioning over the course of the three year study.
Even more importantly, researchers found fish oil consumption had a clear correlation with brain volume. Patients taking the fish oil experienced less brain shrinkage than patients not on the fish oil supplementation. This lack of shrinkage was noted in particular in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, which are both vital to memory and critical thinking.
In a separate study conducted by the Universite Laval in Canada scientists noted stroke induced brain damage was lessened by a diet rich in DHA type Omega-3 fatty acids. Testing was done in mice that were fed a diet containing DHA for three months prior to the stroke. Following the stroke these mice demonstrated a 25% reduction in brain damage compared to those that were not consuming DHA.
Researchers attributed this decrease in brain damage to the ability of DHA to reduce the inflammatory effects of arachidonic acid, a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid, and therefore recommended a diet rich in DHA or fish consumption.
Scientists in both studies remarked these positive results indicated a need for further long-term studies on the positive benefits of fish oil supplementation, especially given the lack of side effects and low expense.