Grandma was right. Fish is brain food.
It seems like everyday, there's good news about what omega 3 fish oil can do for your brain. Research has shown that fish oil brain benefits begin in the womb and continue straight through life preventing Alzheimer's and dementia in the elderly.
A baby's brain is made up of about 70% omega 3 DHA and EPA fatty acids. These fatty acids are necessary for the optimum development of a baby's intelligence, brain function and emotional well-being. They're so vitally important that the U. S. National Institutes of Health recommends pregnant and lactating women supplement their diet with 1200 mg/day.
Recent studies, however, showed the average omega 3 intake of pregnant and nursing mothers was only 18% of what's recommended and only 3% of the women surveyed were getting the omega 3 they needed in their diet.
If baby isn't getting the DHA and EPA it needs from mother's diet, the fetus will take what it needs from the mother's brain supply. During nine months of pregnancy, a mother could lose as much as 3% of her own brain mass from depleted DHA and EPA. Some scientists believe this could be a major cause of post-partum depression. Taking omega 3 supplements during pregnancy, is sounding like a very good idea.
And, if mother's not eating fish, you better believe her adolescent and teenage children aren't either. The resulting omega 3 deficiency has been linked to childhood behavior problems, temper tantrums and learning difficulties. In other words, ADD and ADHD.
A recent British study reported that fish oi supplementation, however, helped reduce the symptoms of dyslexia, ADD and ADHD. The research team gave fish oil supplements for six months to children with behavioral problems, social difficulties and learning disabilities. The children tested six months higher in spelling and more than a year higher in reading skills.
Adults can also get a lot of brain benefits from eating fish a couple of times a week or taking daily fish oil supplements.
Dietary deficiencies of omega 3 DHA and EPA have been linked to a higher incidence of migraine headaches, depression and bipolar disorder. Eating more fish or taking fish oil supplements, on the other hand, has been found to provide good quality, natural relief for these conditions.
Alzheimer's disease now affects some 5 million Americans and that number is expected vastly increase over the next twenty years as the baby boomer generation begins to age. Fish oil can help here too. Studies have shown that people who ate the most fish and had the highest DHA levels had 47% less dementia and 39% less Alzheimer's.
Fish oil also helps prevent “brain attack" or stroke. A Harvard Medical School study of over 43,000 men over a period of 12 years reported that men who eat fish just once a month had a 44% less risk of ischemic (blood clot) stroke than those men who ate fish less than once a month. Taking a daily aspirin, by the way, reduces stroke risk by only 21%.
By the way, apparently what's good for your brain is also good for your heart. Eating fish at least two or three times a week lowers blood pressure and triglycerides and prevents irregular heart beats.
Fish oil omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA also reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death, the number one killer in the U. S. , by 45% or nearly half. That's pretty good, don't you think? Even the American Heart Association recommends that all healthy people eat fish twice a week or more.
So, you can see Grandma knew what she was talking about. Eating fish and taking fish oil supplements is good for your brain and good for your heart. So get smart and follow her advice.
Michael Byrd has over 18 years of education and experience in the fields of physical therapy, health, fitness and nutrition. His pursuit of wellness has shown him many fish oil health benefits as well as the benefits of using natural whole foods to help you look younger, feel better and stay healthy.