Benefits of DHA Omega-3
You can never be too young to be concerned about keeping your brain healthy. The brain is a most amazing organ and how well it functions differentiates you from everybody else. So keep it healthy. One way to keep the brain in optimal function is to get plenty of DHA omega-3 fatty acids in your diet or through supplementation.
DHA (docosahexanenoic acid) is found in fish including salmon, swordfish, some tuna, anchovies, sardines, herring, algae, and breast milk. It can be obtained through fish or krill oil as well. DHA concentration in breast milk is dependent on how much DHA is being consumed by the mother.
Most Americans are deficient in docosahexanenoic acid. Thus, breast milk of many nursing mothers is probably deficient in DHA and some think that this may explain the higher rates of developmental problems and learning disabilities seen today among kids.
DHA: Memory and Reaction Time
Fish has long been touted as brain food and it is. This most likely relates to the benefits of EPA and DHA, two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that women taking docosahexanenoic acid supplementation for 6 months showed improvements in memory. And, men who supplemented with docosahexanenoic acid experienced improvements in reaction time. This study involved healthy young men and women ages 18 to 45 years old.
The dose of docosahexanenoic acid used in the study is higher than most people receive from taking supplements. The study involved supplementation of 1.16 grams of DHA. In the typical 1,000 mg fish oil capsule contains about 200 mg of DHA. Thus, one would need to take 5 to 6 fish oil capsules a day to get the amount of DHA used in the study.
Beyond DHA: What Else To Do For Your Brain
What else can you do for your brain beyond DHA? Aerobic exercise improves blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain. Strength training has been shown to improve memory in older women, too. And, Tai chi can improve memory and thinking. Sugar is toxic to the brain and eating low glycemic carbs will minimize the harmful effects of sugar on the brain and body. Foods high in antioxidants – mainly fruits and vegetables (berries in particular) protect the brain, too.
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