Omega 3 oil
This long-chain omega-3 fatty acid is an essential for every cell in the body, particularly the brain and the eyes. Our bodies can’t produce DHA in large enough quantities, and it’s very difficult to find in plant sources (other than algae) so we need to make sure to consume enough through diet or supplementation.
In every dose
(equal to 1oz cooked, farmed salmon)
DHA may also have a protective role in mental health. One large study found that taking a daily 300-600mg omega 3 supplement was linked with a 30% reduction in developing symptoms of depression. This could be because DHA is important for serotonin, which helps regulate our mood.
What’s in it for my brain?
DHA is vital to the structure of the brain. 25% of your brain is DHA, so not getting enough is like taking one of the wheels off your car and replacing it with a cardboard one - still essentially the same structure, but way less effective.
DHA is mainly found in the grey matter of the brain, particularly the frontal lobes. These areas are important for processing information, memories and emotions, sustaining attention and emotional and behavioural development.
A lack of DHA may affect the speed and quality of communication between nerve cells, and has been linked to memory problems and brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Supplementation has shown improvements in memory, learning and speaking.
It’s also been effective in improving behavioural disorders like ADHD by improving blood flow to the brain during mental tasks.
Omega 3 is important in several aspects of foetal development, as well as immune function, weight management, and inflammation
Plays well with
DHA omega 3 works with polyphenols and EPA (another omega 3 fatty acid) to protect against heart disease
A nine-year study of 900 older men and women (average age 76), found that high levels of DHA was associated with a 47% lower risk of developing dementia.
Here’s a handful of relevant scientific studies on omega 3.
Innis, S. M. (2008). Dietary omega 3 fatty acids and the developing brain. Brain research, 1237, 35-43.
Guesnet, P., & Alessandri, J. M. (2011). Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and the developing central nervous system (CNS)–implications for dietary recommendations. Biochimie, 93(1), 7-12.
Yurko-Mauro, K., Alexander, D. D., & Van Elswyk, M. E. (2015). Docosahexaenoic acid and adult memory: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PloS one, 10(3), e0120391.Yassine, H. N., Braskie, M. N., Mack, W. J., Castor, K. J., Fonteh, A. N., Schneider, L. S., ... & Chui, H. C. (2017). Association of docosahexaenoic acid supplementation with Alzheimer disease stage in apolipoprotein E ε4 carriers: a review. JAMA neurology, 74(3), 339-347.
Yassine, H. N., Braskie, M. N., Mack, W. J., Castor, K. J., Fonteh, A. N., Schneider, L. S., ... & Chui, H. C. (2017). Association of docosahexaenoic acid supplementation with Alzheimer disease stage in apolipoprotein E ε4 carriers: a review. JAMA neurology, 74(3), 339-347.
Dyall, S. C. (2015). Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and the brain: a review of the independent and shared effects of EPA, DPA and DHA. Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 7, 52.
Kuratko, C. N., Barrett, E. C., Nelson, E. B., & Salem, N. (2013). The relationship of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) with learning and behavior in healthy children: a review. Nutrients, 5(7), 2777-2810.
Schaefer, E. J., Bongard, V., Beiser, A. S., Lamon-Fava, S., Robins, S. J., Au, R., ... & Wolf, P. A. (2006). Plasma phosphatidylcholine docosahexaenoic acid content and risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease: the Framingham Heart Study. Archives of neurology, 63(11), 1545-1550.
Yanai, H. (2017). Effects of N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on dementia. Journal of clinical medicine research, 9(1), 1.
McNamara, R. K. (2016). Role of omega-3 fatty acids in the etiology, treatment, and prevention of depression: current status and future directions. Journal of nutrition & intermediary metabolism, 5, 96-106
Mazereeuw, G., Lanctot, K. L., Chau, S. A., Swardfager, W., & Herrmann, N. (2012). Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on cognitive performance: a meta-analysis. Neurobiology of ageing, 33(7), 1482-e17.
Yurko-Mauro, K., McCarthy, D., Rom, D., Nelson, E. B., Ryan, A. S., Blackwell, A., ... & Midas Investigators. (2010). Beneficial effects of docosahexaenoic acid on cognition in age-related cognitive decline. Alzheimer's & Dementia, 6(6), 456-464.
Lee, L. K., Shahar, S., Chin, A. V., & Yusoff, N. A. M. (2013). Docosahexaenoic acid-concentrated fish oil supplementation in subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI): a 12-month randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Psychopharmacology, 225(3), 605-612.
Oulhaj, A., Jernerén, F., Refsum, H., Smith, A. D., & de Jager, C. A. (2016). Omega-3 fatty acid status enhances the prevention of cognitive decline by B vitamins in mild cognitive impairment. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 50(2), 547-557.
Mozaffari-Khosravi, H., Yassini-Ardakani, M., Karamati, M., & Shariati-Bafghi, S. E. (2013). Eicosapentaenoic acid versus docosahexaenoic acid in mild-to-moderate depression: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. European Neuropsychopharmacology, 23(7), 636-644.
Jazayeri, S., Tehrani-Doost, M., Keshavarz, S. A., Hosseini, M., Djazayery, A., Amini, H., ... & Peet, M. (2008). Comparison of therapeutic effects of omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid and fluoxetine, separately and in combination, in major depressive disorder. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 42(3), 192-198.