Fish Oil and Brain Power

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Story Updated: Jan 24, 2014

Researchers found that those with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids appear to have larger brain volumes. The opposite, shrinking brain volume, is a sign of normal aging and sometimes Alzheimer's disease.

Data were collected from more than 11-hundred women who had omega-3 fatty acid levels tested in their blood. Eight years later, MRI scans were done to look at brain volume.

Those with higher levels of omega-3s had larger overall brain volumes.. But more notably, the hippocampus area of the brain was also larger in the higher omega 3 group. That's important because the hippocampus plays a huge role in memory. In fact, in patients with Alzheimer's disease, the hippocampus begins to shrink well before symptoms appear.

Omega-3's can be found in many foods, and can also be supplemented with fish oil capsules.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines with health information for your entire family.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com