In a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, a team of scientists laid out how omega-3s possess unique anti-amyloid, anti-tau, and anti-inflammatory properties, and that are known to help increase blood flow to the brain
They compared images taken using single photo emission computed tomography, also known as SPECT, showing how blood moves to and fro within a person's brain depending on what he or she is doing or thinking about, to the Omega-3 Index, a measure of the blood concentration of two specific types of omega-3s: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
For the purposes of this study, SPECT imagery was compared to Omega-3 Index data, revealing that both EPA and DHA are directly associated with increased blood flow to areas of the brain associated with memory and learning. EPA and DHA were similarly found to help directly counteract the degenerative effects of dementia.
Drawing from a random sample of 166 participants in a psychiatric referral clinic for which Omega-3 Index results were available, study participants were divided into two groups: One with higher concentrations of EPA and DHA in the greater than 50th percentile, and the other with lower concentrations of EPA and DHA in a lower than 50th percentile. The quantitative brain SPECT was then conducted on 128 regions of the participants' brains, each one completing a computerized testing of their neurocognitive status.
At the completion of the study, the results showed a strong relationship between the Omega-3 Index and regional perfusion on brain SPECT in areas associated with memory and neurocognitive testing. In other words, EPA and DHA (and likely many other omega-3s that are lesser studied) are key contributors to anti-Alzheimer's brain health.
"This is very important research because it shows a correlation between lower omega-3 fatty acid levels and reduced brain blood flow to regions important for learning, memory, depression and dementia," stated lead author Daniel G. Amen, M.D., from Amen Clinics Inc. of Costa Mesa, California.
Omega-3s are just one piece of a much greater anti-aging nutritional puzzle, particularly as it pertains to brain health. Studies show that coconut oil, for instance, is another powerful brain food that counteracts the damaging effects of neurodegeneration. After the body metabolizes it, coconut oil is transformed by the liver into what are known as ketones, which the body recognizes as an alternate fuel source. And this fuel source just so happens to be preferred by the brain, meaning that ketones are converted into energy that the brain uses to keep itself in tip-top shape.
This just goes to show that nature already has plenty to offer when it comes to maintaining one's brain health, and that we don't have to turn to the pharmaceutical industry for answers when we already have affordable, all-natural options at our disposal. Even this latest study helps to confirm this, illustrating that nutrition is what the human body needs to stay healthy – not more chemical drugs.
"This study is a major advance in demonstrating the value of nutritional intervention for brain health by using the latest brain imaging," stated George Perry, Ph.D., Dean and Professor of Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
To keep up with the latest news on brain health and cognitive decline, be sure to visit Dementia.news.
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