If you are like most people as a child you were probably told by a parent or grandparent that fish was brain food, and eating that fish would make you smarter. Then along came those studies the last couple of years that seemed to prove that old saying correct by suggesting that taking high quality fish oil supplements or eating fatty fish containing omega-3 fatty acids could slow down memory loss and help aid the depression that occurred in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s. You may have even said to yourself that good old Grandma was right all along.
Then the latest studies on fish oil and Alzheimer’s disease came out recently, which state that while fish oil may be great for overall health, it may not help those suffering from Alzheimer’s at all. So why are these studies so confusing?
For starters, while there have literally been thousands of studies done on the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, they are really only beginning to study these nutrients in relationship to its benefits in the area of memory and cognitive functioning. The latest tests were done on people who had normal brain functioning and did not already have Alzheimer’s disease. This may be significant in that omega-3 fatty acids may only have a noticeable effect on those who already show significant memory and cognitive loss.
It may also mean, that omega-3s may have some benefits in preventing or delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s as all of the subjects in these latest studies started out mentally alert and showed no signs of mental deterioration when the studies ended.
It may also mean, that omega-3’s need to be taken over a longer period than what the studies allowed in order to have a positive effect on a normally aging brain. There are simply too many variables to conclude that omega-3s do not have any benefits for Alzheimer’s patients based on these three studies alone, especially when other studies suggest just the opposite. More studies need to be done to either prove or disapprove that fish oil can either help to treat Alzheimer’s or that it is ineffective.
What Does This Mean In Terms Of Your Brain Health?
For those who are not sure what these conflicting studies mean in terms of your own brain health, the reality is that it may be years before scientists know for sure whether with omega 3, Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented or treated. Waiting for that proof may not be something that you want to do, and there really is no reason why you should not be taking a daily dose of fish oil right now.
With all of the other benefits fish oil can offer your health it certainly can’t hurt as it will give you so many other health benefits. Then if further studies, do prove that fish oil can help you maintain brain health, memory, and cognitive functioning then you will have the satisfaction of saying that Grandma was right all along.