Diet High in Omega-3s, Vitamins Boost Brain Health

December 29, 2011

2 Min Read
Diet High in Omega-3s, Vitamins Boost Brain Health

CORVALLIS, Ore.Individuals who consume a diet rich in omega-3s fatty acids and vitamins are less likely to have brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimers disease than people who have lower levels of the nutrients, according to a new study published in the journal Neurology. The study also found people with diets high in trans fats are more likely to have brain shrinkage and lower scores on the thinking and memory tests.

The study was among the first of its type to specifically measure a wide range of blood nutrient levels instead of basing findings on less precise data such as food questionnaires. It found positive effects of high levels of vitamins B, C, D, E and the healthy oils most commonly found in fish.

The study was done with 104 people, at an average age of 87, with no special risk factors for memory or mental acuity. It tested 30 different nutrient biomarkers in their blood, and 42 participants also had MRI scans to measure their brain volume. All of the participants also took tests of their memory and thinking skills.

The most favorable cognitive outcomes and brain size measurements were associated with two dietary patternshigh levels of marine fatty acids, and high levels of vitamins B, C, D and E. Consistently worse cognitive performance was associated with a higher intake of the type of trans fats found in baked and fried foods, margarine, fast food and other less-nutritious dietary choices.

This approach clearly shows the biological and neurological activity that's associated with actual nutrient levels, both good and bad," said Maret Traber, a principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute and co-author on the study. The vitamins and nutrients you get from eating a wide range of fruits, vegetables and fish can be measured in blood biomarkers. I'm a firm believer these nutrients have strong potential to protect your brain and make it work better."

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