Brain Health: Fish oil helps maintain brain volume

By Dr. John

The first signs of human consciousness were found in Blombos Cave, South Africa and date to 70 to 80 thousand years ago. It is probably no accident that the site is littered with evidence of seafood consumption. Indeed, significant inclusion of seafood and fish in the human diet may represent the final nutritional factor in development of the human mind. 

The typical American diet is profoundly different from that of our Paleolithic ancestors and is increasingly considered the root of many modern diseases.

In a new study reported by EurekAlert, researchers at Rhode Island Hospital's Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center revealed older adults taking fish oil supplements preserved brain volume and had smaller cerebral ventricles (a healthy sign suggesting less brain atrophy). Lead investigator, Lori Daiello, PharmD, states:

"In the imaging analyses for the entire study population, we found a significant positive association between fish oil supplement use and average brain volumes in two critical areas utilized in memory and thinking (cerebral cortex and hippocampus), as well as smaller brain ventricular volumes compared to non-users at any given time in the study. In other words, fish oil use was associated with less brain shrinkage in patients taking these supplements during the ADNI study compared to those who didn't report using them."

This observational study is just one additional piece of evidence demonstrating our continued movement away from the original human diet comes at a price. In this case, a shrinking brain. 

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