Brain benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids
Omega 3 is a very popular supplement available in the form of fish liver oil capsules extracted from fatty fish like salmons and sardines. According to a latest research, about 19 million people in USA consume some kind of omega 3 supplements on daily basis.
The reason behind this popularity is that these omega 3s are very beneficial for many important brain functions. It is believed that the people who take some sort of omega 3 supplement, have low risk of suffering from cognitive disorders. High blood levels of omega 3 are linked with improved brain structure and cognitive functions.
In this article we will summarize everything you need to know about Omega 3 fatty acids, how they work and what their effects are as a brain stimulant in consumers. So, let’s hop right in.
What are Omega 3 fatty acids?
These are essential extraneous fats, which mean that our body needs them but cannot make them on its own. These play a vital role in cell membrane formation and are essential for generating some hormones in the body. There are three categories of these fatty acids;
- Eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA present in fish oil
- Docosahexaenoic acid or DHA present in fish oil
- Alpha-linolenic acid or ALA present in plants
How do they work?
While the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids can no longer be denied, their cellular mechanism of action remains elusive. The omega-3 fatty acids action is complex phenomenon and involves a number of signaling pathways. Here are a few theories on some of the possible cellular mechanisms by which the omega 3 fatty acids may function.
These poly unsaturated fatty acids play multiple roles. Therefore, they are likely to act through different mechanisms. There are 4 possible mechanisms by which omega 3s can act in a cell or tissue to perform their physiological actions:
- These fatty acids can influence metabolite or hormone levels that in response will affect the cell and tissue functions
- These fatty acids can either affect the other factors such as oxidation of LDL to alter tissue behavior
- It will directly affect the cell function through external or internal receptors
- These fatty acids will make some changes in the composition of cell membrane phospholipids to modify the cell functions.
Brain benefits of omega 3
- To Enhance Cognitive Functions
These poly unsaturated fatty acids have a wide range of functions in brain, right from brain development to its processing. Several studies show that the omega 3 fatty acids work as a nootropics agent because they provide neuron-protection to our brain cells and their cell membranes and reduce the damage due to free radicals.
Also, by consuming the omega 3 supplements, you will experience improvement in brain functioning within weeks. It also helps to delay the onset of some mental disorders which are age-related and run in your family such as Alzheimer’s disease.
- Omega 3 for Brain Development
Research has proven that in the last three months of fetal development, Omega-3s are only supplied to the fetus to meet the demands of rapid brain growth and that premature infants not only have less brain volume but they also do not suffer from brain abnormalities. Testing of kids whose mothers consumed omega 3 supplements during pregnancy revealed significant differences in their IQ, memory skills, communication and social behavior.
After birth, if the diet of children especially between ages of 6 to 12 is rich in omega 3, it will result in improved learning skills and improved cognitive ability
Other studies reveal that kids who had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) had lower levels of Omega-3s in their blood and taking an omega 3 supplement led to a visible improvement.
- Improves Blood Flow to the Brain
Our brain cell membranes pass through a natural deterioration process with the age and it is a major cause of developing age-related dementia and cognitive decline. But a few studies have shown that taking Omega-3 supplements can delay this process in some people. Since it has anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, people with sufficient Omega-3 levels in blood have increased blood flow to their brains and have better cognitive skills than those with lower levels.
- Improves Mood and Minimizes Depression
Research has indicated that intake of Omega-3s may be an effective treatment tool for mood swings and depression. This theory has been supported by some epidemiological studies, which show the results that people who eat more seafood have less chances of depression. It also helps to reduce the secretion of stress hormones which cause the depression and stress in people.
Daily Dose and Precautions
Consuming 1000-2000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids from a supplement per day is a safe place to start. Your dose should never exceed 3000 mg per day.
You should also consult your physician before starting its use if you are pregnant or have any other health concerns.
The Bottom Line
Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for normal brain development and function. It also helps to boost your mental health and delay age related dementia. People with depression or a mild decline in cognitive function should consider taking omega-3 supplement. They will experience a significant improvement within a few weeks.