Study: Higher Omega-3 Index Could Protect Brain from Air Pollution

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Sioux Falls, SD—New research co-authored by OmegaQuant‘s William S. Harris, Ph.D., showed that women who had a higher Omega-3 Index were more protected from the adverse effects on the brain from air pollution than those with a lower Omega-3 Index. In the study, which was published in Neurology, Omega-3 Index correlated directly with the reported consumption of non-fried fish.

A total of 1,315 women (65 to 80 years old) free of dementia were enrolled in the observational study between 1996-1999, and underwent structural brain MRI in 2005-2006. Then, based on prospectively collected and geocoded participant addresses, the research team used a spatiotemporal model to estimate the three-year average air pollution exposure before the MRI. They then looked at the relationship between pollution exposure and the size of different sections of the brain.

The finding: The more pollution the women were exposed to, the greater the shrinkage of the brain. “But the important finding was that a high Omega-3 Index markedly blunted this correlation whereas it was quite strong among those with a low Omega-3 Index,” OmegaQuant reported, adding that women with higher Omega-3 Index levels had significantly greater volumes of white matter and hippocampus.

Dr. Harris said the research shows the protective benefits of omega-3s against air pollution and subsequently brain aging. More importantly, according to Dr. Harris: It underlines the benefits based on an omega-3 blood level, lending yet another layer of substantiation for the Omega-3 Index in maintaining brain health.

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