(Natural News) Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to play a role in many different fundamental brain processes. These essential fatty acids have been associated with proper brain development and functioning of the central nervous system.
In a recent study published in the journal Food Science and Human Wellness, a team of researchers from the University of Regensburg in Germany sought to determine the effects of omega-3 deficiency on attention functions and impulsive behavior in rats. In addition, the research team looked at the effects of a diet that includes adequate omega-3 fatty acids in rats deficient on the nutrient on the same behavioral domains. The team found that omega-3 fatty acids indeed play a role in cognitive and behavioral processes. In particular, they found that adding omega-3 fatty acids to one’s diet improves attention and impulsive behavior.
In the study, the research team fed rats with an omega-3 deficient diet over several generations, and the dams of the seventh generation were randomly assigned to two diet groups and a received an omega-3 deficient or an omega-3 sufficient diet. In addition, they fed a group of previously untreated dams with an omega-3 sufficient diet. After these, the researchers assessed the attention and impulsive behavior of the male offspring of these three diet groups.
The results showed that the deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids over generations led to significant changes in the attention parameters and impulsive behaviors of rats. The treatment with the omega-3 sufficient diet also partially corrected the impairments associated with an omega-3 deficiency.
The findings of this study suggest that the detrimental effects of transgenerational of omega-3 deficiency can be at least partly reversed by feeding an omega-3 sufficient diet to dams and their offspring. This supports earlier animal studies that showed supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids can help in the recovery from behavioral deficits, such as impairments in spatial performance, avoidance, anxiety, or activity induced by a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) deficiency.
Other benefits of omega-3s on the brain
Omega-3 fatty acids also provide the following brain health benefits:
- Fighting depression and anxiety: Research has shown that taking omega-3 supplements or consuming dietary sources of omega-3s regularly helps fight depression and anxiety. Out of the three types of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) was found to be the most effective at reducing the symptoms of depression.
- Promoting brain health during pregnancy and early life: Getting enough amounts of omega-3 fatty acids is important during pregnancy and infancy for the brain growth and development of children. Supplementing with omega-3s is associated with higher intelligence, better communication and social skills, fewer behavioral problems, and reduced risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and cerebral palsy in children.
- Reducing ADHD symptoms in children: Studies have revealed that children with ADHD have lower than normal levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and that supplementing with omega-3s can reduce their symptoms of ADHD. In particular, these essential fatty acids improve attention and decrease hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and aggression.
- Improving mental disorders: Similar to children with ADHD, individuals with psychiatric disorders tend to have low omega-3 levels. Studies have found that improving omega-3 status can reduce the frequency of mood swings and relapses in people with both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and reduce violent behavior.
- Preventing age-related mental decline: There is also evidence that omega-3s can help slow or decrease age-related mental decline and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. (Related: Omega-3 benefits for brain health are well documented; now researchers have determined they help prevent Alzheimer’s.)
You can get omega-3 fatty acids from nuts, seeds, fish, seaweed, and algae. Nuts and seeds like chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts are loaded with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), while fatty fish like mackerel and salmon, seaweed, and algae provide docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and EPA fatty acids. Omega-3s are also available in supplement form.
Read more news stories and studies on the brain health benefits of omega-3s fatty acids by going to Omega3.news.