New findings in the US have revealed that diets that include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help in healthy ageing of the brain. Marta Zamroziewicz from University of Illinois, led the research team which conducted two studies which analysed the blood of adults between the ages of 65 to 75, for omega -3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and a possible relationship between them and the participants’ cognitive performance and brain structure.
The brain is composed of interconnected parts which age according to their own rates, some parts of their brain deteriorate earlier than others.
The first study concentrated on the frontoparietal network of the brain. This portion of the brain is responsible for fluid intelligence, which is the capability of solving new problems that are unforeseen and was published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.
The team looked for a possible connection between the size of this network of the brain, performance on tests involving fluid intelligence and the levels of different types of omega- 3 fatty acids in the blood.
The results of the study revealed that that those who had higher levels of three omegas -3 fatty acids in their blood—ALA, sardonic acid and ecosatrienoic acid also were inclined to have a larger frontoparietal cortex, which helped in the performance of the participants in tests of fluid intelligence.
The second study, was published in the journal Aging and Disease, which reviewed the white matter formation of the fornix. Located in the centre of the brain and is responsible for memory. Previously studies have found that fornix is one of the first regions of the brain to be affected because of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The study found out that the size of the fornix was related to balanced levels of the omega-3 and omega-3 fatty acids in the blood and that a larger fornix was associated with good memory in older adults.
Although the research team acknowledged that further research is required to further test their hypothesis, Zamroziewicz added that “These findings have important implications for the Western diet, which tends to be misbalanced with high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids and low amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.”
“A lot of research tells us that people need to be eating fish and fish oil to get neuroprotective effects from these particular fats, but this new finding suggests that even the fats that we get from nuts, seeds and oils can also make a difference in the brain,” she added.