a precious ally for the brain

In the family of Omega three fatty acids include: alpha linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These nutrients belong to the group of so-called essential fatty acids, as the body cannot produce them and it is therefore necessary to introduce them through the diet. To tell the truth, EPA and DHA can be obtained from ALA, which the body must necessarily take in through the diet; however, certain circumstances (old age, drug therapies, etc.) compromise the effectiveness of this conversion metabolism, favoring EPA and DHA deficiency.

For these reasons, everyone should respect a diet sufficiently rich in alpha linolenic acid, preferably also characterized by the additional presence of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid.

To know more:
Omega 3 supplements: what they are, what they are for and which are the best

Action on the Brain

Omega threes (particularly DHA and EPA) correlate with brain health in several ways. In this sense, the main functions are:

  • They constitute a very important structural element
  • They promote circulation thanks to:
    • Vasodilatory capacity
    • Blood thinning
    • Anti-atherogenic potential
  • They prevent some cognitive disorders
  • They could have a protective effect on the typical degeneration of old age
  • They intervene positively on mood in case of depression.

Omega 3: Role in Development and Growth

Omega three are fundamental structural components for nervous tissue, therefore for the brain.
This function plays a decisive role especially in fetal development and in the nutrition of the first two years of life.
This means that the diet should be particularly rich in omega 3 (in particular EPA and DHA) especially in case of:

  • Pregnancy, during which nourishment is transmitted from the mother to the fetus.
  • Breastfeeding, during which nourishment is transmitted from the mother to the infant (until weaning). If you use infant formula, it is advisable to pay close attention to the formulation of the product.
  • Up to 18 months of age, although certain studies underline how this notable importance of a diet rich in DHA persists up to the twelfth year of age.

Effects of Omega 3 on mood

Several scientific studies have found a correlation between the intake of omega 3 and mood.
In particular, EPA appears to be helpful in managing depression.
The effect is probably linked to the ability of EPA to act as a precursor of prostaglandin E3. This, probably thanks to its anti-inflammatory function, is involved in the etiopathogenesis of depression (even if the precise mechanism is not yet known).
The studies that have attempted to demonstrate the correlation between omega three and anxiety or psychosis are less relevant or incomplete.

Omega 3: Role in Cognitive Processes and Memory

This action mainly concerns the elderly: an effective, albeit modest, link has been found between good levels of omega 3 in the diet and improvement of mild cognitive deficits.
On the contrary, the link between omega three intake, prevention and improvement of Alzheimer's disease or senile dementia has not yet been consolidated.

Blood Circulation: Effects of Omega 3

Omega three have an anti-atherogenic capacity, vasodilating on the arteries and thinning the blood.
Since atherosclerotic plaques frequently affect the carotid arteries, obstructing them and affecting the oxygenation of the brain, a diet rich in omega 3 can be considered preventive and beneficial.
Furthermore, the fluidizing capacity hinders the formation of emboli and thrombi which can reach the cerebral vessels giving rise to stroke.
The vasodilatory capacity of these essential fats can only be beneficial for blood circulation in the brain, especially in old age.
These are real effects but they have an impact that is difficult to demonstrate. Scientific investigations have failed to correlate the intake of omega three with the prevention of cerebral ischemic events.

Avoid Shortage

The nutritional requirement of omega 3 for an adult corresponds to approximately 0.5-2.0% of total calories, of which at least 250 mg/day should consist of EPA and DHA.
Increases in case of:

  • Gestation: + 100 or 200 mg of DHA
  • Breastfeeding: + 100 or 200 mg of DHA
  • Ages between 0 and 24 months: + 100 mg of DHA
  • Probably, in old age.

Especially in these cases, it is necessary that the nutritional intake of omega three is more than adequate.

Tips to ensure your Omega 3 intake


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