We’ve talked about nutrition and how researchers are finding correlations between ingesting optimal amounts of vitamins and minerals and decreased brain damage after an injury. For this post we are going to explore one of the oft times touted supplements, fish oil.
According to a handful of studies, to be listed in the end, fish oil’s mega-3s (DHA) from sources such as tuna or salmon have the ability to reduce the risk of stroke, dementia and cognitive as well as brain abnormalities. In addition to this, it may also help with brain recovery after a traumatic injury.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that are obtained from food. There are three omega-3s, ALA, DHA and EPA. Of those, DHA is the form most usable by the body. Fatty acids are needed for normal growth and they benefit kidney function and support skin integrity as well as regulate inflammation and control hormones and cell growth.
The recommended dose varies depending on age and whether or not you are taking other supplements or medications. If you are in good health, taking 1,000 mg once a day should provide an adequate amount.
There have been some concerns regarding mercury in fish, as an increase in mercury levels can lead to brain damage, the very thing we are trying to counteract. To avoid this you can either stick to the fish oil capsules which have had the impurities taken out, or eat fish with lower amounts such as Alaskan cod or sockeye salmon (tuna contains the highest level of mercury).
Of course, as in all studies, there are possible variables such as the age of those who tend to use fish oil, so keep in mind that while it may have been shown to improve cognitive functioning, it may not work for you. Research into supplements such as omega-3s are still in the early stages, but the potential benefits make them worth watching.