Here's something that might surprise you about your memory. Did you know that people who become depressed after the age of 50 are more likely to have cognitive impairment even after the depression clears? They also have an increased risk for dementia later on. Why is that?
New research says it might have something to do with fish oil.
In this new study, researchers looked at 132 men and women average age 62-73 who had all recovered from a major depression. They gave them a series of cognitive tests and a lifestyle questionnaire. Then they collected blood samples and measured them for the levels of omega-6 fats and omega-3 fats including EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosapentaenoic acid). EPA and DHA are the fats found in fish oil. Here's what they found.
The only fats that improved cognitive function were the omega-3 fats, especially EPA. The higher these fats were in the membranes of the red blood cells, the better the brain function. Likewise, the lower the omega-3 levels were, the worse the brain function. This was especially true when you combine low levels of EPA with high levels of the omega-6 oil arachidonic acid. There are several reasons why these results should not be all that surprising.
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First, researchers have long connected higher levels of omega-3 fats with enhanced cognitive performance in both children and adults. Second, the omega-3 fat DHA is the most abundant fat in the brain. So it stands to reason that lower levels will decrease performance. And lastly, lower concentrations of omega-3 fats, particularly DHA, are common in depression. Studies have even shown that taking DHA supplements can prevent recurring depression and improve depression scores. So the connection between depression, cognitive function, and omega-3 fats is clear.
Technically speaking, our bodies are able to make EPA and DHA from the fats we get in vegetables, nuts, and seeds. But the truth is that many people are born with an inability to effectively do this. So for them the only way to get the levels they need is to eat foods high in EPA and DHA. That would include fish and grain-free eggs and meats.
Of course the easiest way to make sure you are getting enough of these important fats is from fish oil. Or better yet take the new balanced fish oil supplement Complete Daily Oils from Advanced Bionutritionals. I recommend taking two capsules every day.
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