How to improve brain function and structure in elderly people?


High intake of omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial for the aging brain, improving its structure and the cognitive function.

Sixty-five healthy subjects (50-75 years) received for 26 weeks either omega-3 fish oil (2.2 g/d) or placebo. After this period, comparisons between the two groups were made in cognitive performance, neuroimaging and blood tests. The researchers found a significant improvement in executive functions after omega-3, compared with placebo. Executive functions include the ability to remember details, manage time and attention, plan and organize, initiate and stop actions, integrate past experience with present action and to adapt behaviour to novel tasks and situations. We all know what happens when these abilities fail…

Omega-3 was also found to have beneficial effects on white and gray matter (structure and volume, respectively) in several areas of the left hemisphere, on carotid wall thickness and diastolic blood pressure (the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats). This study provides evidence that omega-3 has positive effects on brain functions in healthy elderly people.


Witte AV, Kerti L, Hermannstädter HM et al. Long-Chain Omega-3 Fatty Acids Improve Brain Function and Structure in Older Adults. Cereb Cortex. 2013 Jun 24. [Epub ahead of print]


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