Omega-3 could help to prevent premature cognitive decline

 
 
 

Blood supplies the brain with the oxygen and nutrients (mainly glucose, but not only) it needs to function properly. Although the brain is a small part of the body’s total weight (about 2% of the total body weight in humans), it requires a lot of energy to function, and it receives 15-20% of the body’s blood supply. The heart pumps blood up to the brain through two sets of arteries, the carotid arteries and the vertebral arteries; and it has also a type of veins that carry blood containing carbon dioxide and other waste products away from the cranium. Therefore, health of the vascular system is crucial to ensuring that brain receives the adequate supply of blood and gets rid of waste products.

People with circulatory impairments, for example, with high blood pressure, cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and old or overweighted, might have a greater risk of mood disorders or cognitive deficits.

There is evidence that regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can improve cerebrovascular function. Several studies have demonstrated significant benefits of omega-3 fatty acids supplementation for mood and cognition in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. These benefits of omega-3 fatty acids supplementation in brain function may be attributable in part to the improvement of the delivery of blood to the brain, although their effects on neuronal structure and function also may have an important role.

In a recent study, some people (aged 40-85 years) with mild hypertension have taken omega-3 fatty acids supplementation or corn oil daily for 20 weeks. In this study, it has been observed that omega-3 fatty acids supplementation (in comparison with corn oil) has the potential to enhance blood flow in the brain in response to the presence of excessive amounts of carbon dioxide in the blood and during cognitive processes (which increase the demand for oxygen).

It can be concluded that omega-3 fatty acids supplementation could help to prevent premature cognitive decline, by counteracting microvascular disorders in the aging people.

Bibliography:

Howe PRC, Evans HM, Kuszewski JC, Wong RHX. Effects of long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on brain function in mildly hypertensive older adults. Nutrients. 2018 Oct 2;10(10). pii: E1413. doi: 10.3390/nu10101413.

Blood flow to the brain [Internet]. Rolling Meadows, IL: American Association of Neurological Surgeons [2018].

 
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