Essential Brain Nourishment: Fish Oils

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Essential Brain Nourishment: Fish Oils

The fish oil, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is the major polyunsaturated fatty acid in the brain. Between 25% and 50% of all the fatty acids in the brain, optic nerve and retina are DHA. One of the functions of DHA in the brain is to stimulate brain neurons to maintain strong cell-to-cell contacts so that they may communicate with ease. When DHA is added to the diet it enters the brain and is incorporated into those areas of neuron cell membranes where cells are in proximity and exchange messages. When the neuronal membrane DHA content is increased in rats, they learn more quickly and exhibit increased curiosity about their environment – all signs of enhanced cognitive functions. In elderly men and women, the ability to retain cognitive functions may increase as daily fish oil intake increases.8 DHA and other essential fatty acids support several structural components of brain tissue.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Essential Brain Nourishment: Phosphatidylserine

8. Kalmijn S, Feskens EJM Launer LJ, Kromhout D. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, and cognitive function in very old men. Am J Epidemiol 1997;145:33-41.

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