The skinny on fat. Fish oil supplements and fat, actually, and your brain. (I thought that was such a catchy phrase, the skinny on fat).
It turns out that fish oil supplements could be a very important part of your brain fitness regimen.
There is a lot of buzz these days about Omega 3's and their importance to our over all health, and our brain fitness particularly.
Let me tell you a little about what Professor's Evans and Burghardt have written in their wonderful book
Brainfit for Life about omega 3's and your brain's health.
As usual, we could be getting all the omega 3's we need through our diet, but we don't for a number of reasons.
The best source of omega 3 is cold water, ocean going fish, which these days is full of mercury. (There are also concerns about the farm grown kind of fish too, due to disease from so many fish in such a small environment, and they do not get natural foods).
Not sure about you, but that concern (read the warnings for pregnant mothers and the amount of fish they can ingest because of mercury, for example)plus a basic distaste for the smell of cooking fish means I seldom, and I mean a few times a decade seldom, eat fish.
So my diet is not going to provide me much in the way of omega 3. There are some vegetable sources of omega 3, but I would need to eat quite a bit to get the RDA or RDI.
But before we go to where to find this important nutrient for my brain and body, let me quote Brainfit for Life about why omega 3's are important.
"Furthermore, when it comes to the brain omega-3s play another role. In fact, brain tissue has a higher concentration of omega-3s than most other tissues in the body (along with eye tissue and sperm). Omega-3s are very important components of the cell membrane that we talked about above.
Brain cells connect and talk to each other, but they do so in a very ‘fluid’ flexible, more like Jell-o. This flexibility is required in order to make new connections and learn things.
Omega-3s contribute to the brain’s physical flexibility and the less omega-3s in the brain cell membranes the more rigid and stiff they become, decreasing their ability to communicate efficiently.
Also, research shows us that diets low in omega-3s can alter the levels of specific signals in the brain (dopamine and serotonin) that are involved in regulating mood. In fact, studies show that omega-3s are lower in the blood of people who attempted suicide and omega-3s are now being studied as a potential antidepressant."
At 64 years of age, I too often hear words like those in the headline from my family. My son says, or thinks, your neurons are too stiff frequently, I know he does.
So where do you get omega 3's if not from fish?
Well, let's look to what Professor's Evans and Burghardt have to say about that;
"On a final note, it merits mention that there are three main types of omega-3s and they have different roles in the body. The shortest of the omega-3 fats comes mostly from plant sources, like walnuts and flaxseed. This type, called ALA, can be beneficial for some diabetic patients by helping to increase sensitivity to insulin.
Specific machinery in the body can lengthen ALA to form another omega-3, called EPA, which is further lengthened to form the omega-3, DHA. However, this process of lengthening the omega-3 chain does not work very well in
humans, but you can get the long chain forms directly by eating fish. EPA has a big role in keeping the vascular system healthy and DHA is the one that plays a big role in the brain.
This is important because it’s difficult to get all the brain-boosting affects of omega-3s strictly from grain and nut sources. Fish is really the best.
All in all omega-3s play a role in many brain functions from regulating mood to increasing cognitive abilities. These reasons put foods rich in omega-3s near the top of the list for a brain healthy diet. See the appendix for a look at foods high in omega-3s and omega-6s."
I have interviewed Professor Evans on Blog Talk Radio, and he has discussed omega 3 supplementation as a way to get your brain the omega 3's it needs.
He reports that supplementation is fine if there are difficulties with eating fish because of mercury, so I started supplementation and noticed an improvement in my ability to concentrate immediately, and when I mentioned that to Professor Evans, he said that omega 3's are being researched as a treatment for ADD.
That would fit for me, since I can only remember where stuff is if it is in a pile, which means my office is full of piles. (If I file it, I will not remember the title to the file, and that material is effectively lost until I stumble across it some years later maybe, but that will immediately cue the project and where I was in it.
Well, Omega 3's help me to remember what title I picked for that project and its file, Fish Oil Supplements.
The best omega 3's I have found? Right here, from New Zealand.
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