When I think about all the nutritional health benefits that come from natural food sources, there is nothing that I hear about more often than the omega-3 essentially fatty acids, and especially omega-3 DHA and omega-3 EPA.
The nutritional benefits from omega-3 DHA begin with the way it works to eliminate excess accumulation of body inflammation. Preventing chronic inflammation is very significant, considering the serious health implications from the prevalence of large dietary imbalances with pro-inflammatory omega-6 bad fats, along with eating far too much sugar from processed foods and high fructose corn syrup.
Along with the omega-3 fatty acids anti-inflammatory benefits, studies and usage reports show important nutritional benefits for cardiovascular health and for cognitive health. Both of these are very important, considering that dying from a heart attack is the leading cause of death in the United States. And brain development, memory retention, and cognition are central to day-to-day functioning and enjoying life.
Omega-3 DHA And Cognitive Health
Included in the omega-3 nutritional benefits are those that affect the brain; benefits have been seen for preventing and treating depression and mood disorders, and there are studies showing that omega-3 may also become important for Alzheimer’s disease prevention.
Along with these brain related benefits, omega-3 intake is very important for the development of the brain, along synapse xt with cognitive functioning – take a look at some of the studies showing this:
(1) Pregnant women that have the highest levels of omega-3 at the time of birth and while lactating, have babies that have the highest cognitive abilities and the longest attention spans when doing cognitive tasks – it was noted that these brain development benefits last for the first couple years of life.
(2) In a UCLA integrative physiology study, two groups of rats, after being taught how to navigate and exit a maze, were given a solution of high fructose corn syrup as their drinking water for six weeks. One of these groups was also given omega-3 DHA as a supplement.
The results of this study find that the group that was only given the HFCS lost the cognitive ability to go through the maze and remember how to exit it – while the group that was given the omega-3 DHA supplement remembered what they had been taught and retained the cognitive function that the other group didn’t.
(3) Memory decline from aging is common, but a Columbia University study questions whether it is inevitable. Findings in the study suggested that there are areas in the brain that are responsible for memory retention that are continuing to be identified, and as they are it will facilitate the development for more effective treatments.
It is anticipated that supplementing with omega-3 DHA will be important as a natural nutritional treatment. And it has already been seen that Alzheimer’s disease patients have lower levels of omega-3 DHA in their brains than those of elderly people without the disease, leading to the conclusion that these lower levels also are associated to higher risks for developing the disease.
And as the studies continue, what appears to already be clear is the wide depth of benefits that are significant enough to add omega-3 DHA nutritional supplements to what is already being taken in through diet.