Sunday, January 15, 2012

Avoiding the brain drain - Brain function supplements for as you get older

It may sound trite but as we get older, we get stiffer, slower, less agile in body and mind. My knees are not as flexible, my step has lost some of its spring and my mind is not as agile as it once used to be. These are all common symptoms of aging and whilst we cannot avoid getting older, there are certain things we can do to improve our bodies, and sharpen our minds.

Scientists have been studying omega 3 for years, and have completed a number of studies which relate to omega 3 levels on brain function and neural disorders. A number of breakthroughs have been made concerning how omega 3 can support and improve brain function in the elderly in disorders such as Alzheimer disease, depression and dementia.

 In a study published in "The British journal of nutrition" scientists found:

"Compared with the LA group, GDS scores improved in the EPA (P = 0·04) and DHA (P = 0·01) groups and verbal fluency (Initial Letter Fluency) in the DHA group (P = 0·04). Improved GDS(Geriatric Depression Scale) scores were correlated with increased DHA plus EPA (r 0·39, P = 0·02). Improved self-reported physical health was associated with increased DHA. There were no treatment effects on other cognitive or QOL parameters. Increased intakes of DHA and EPA benefited mental health in older people with MCI."

 So how does aging affect the brain and why does it cause us to slowly lose memory and cognitive function?

The brain relies on fats and fatty acids as fuel and as building blocks to build and maintain brain cell tissue. Healthy brain tissue contains high levels of EPA and DHA which ensure that signals in the brain are transmitted efficiently and effectively.

Omega 3 also acts as an anti-inflammatory and on top of all that omega 3 helps to fight oxidation which decreases brain function. So omega 3 works on a number of different levels to keep the brain healthy, active and functioning at its optimal level.

Finding the best omega 3 brain function supplements

There are hundreds if not thousands of omega 3 supplements available now from the omega on your supermarket shelf to products available online, delivered to your door. So how do you know if the omega 3 you are buying is effective as a supplement?

You need to do a little research on the supplement you choose. Make sure the source of the supplement is good and also make sure that the product is manufactured in a way that ensures the effective absorption of the supplement.

As far as sources of omega 3 – fish oil is currently the best and safest source of omega 3 and as long as you ensure that the fish comes from a pollution free environment, you can be sure you are getting the best source of omega 3.

As far as production, the best source of any nutrient for the body is a source which the body is used to – in other words a natural source. Our bodies are used to consuming and using a triglyceride form of omega 3. So make sure you chose a supplement which is produced in its triglyceride form.

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