Fish Oil Improves Blood Flow to the Brain

Anyone who is into diet and nutrition knows about fish oil (FO) supplementation. The wonderful health benefits derived from omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are quite public now. But what a lot of people may not know is that fish oil can improve blood flow (cerebral circulation) to the brain. Cerebral circulation is crucial for healthy brain activity and functioning.

This short animation demonstrates how cerebral circulation works

Researchers at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle, conducted two studies into fish oil. Their aim was to measure its influence on the human brain.  Here's what they discovered:

First Study

Volunteers took either of two types of fish oil (FO) supplement for a period of three months. In the first study there was no constant effect on any kind of mental function in adults between 18 – 35 years. There was, however, clear proof of decreased mental fatigue. There was also evidence of faster overall reaction times. Up until then it was widely thought that omega-3 or FO supplements had an instant or noticeable influence on a person's mental performance. The researchers concluded that maybe there was no room for improvements in healthy young adults. After all, they were more than likely already functioning at their mental peak. Scientists also suggested that perhaps a higher dosage over a longer duration was necessary before any notable changes could materialize.

Second Study

The second study also required volunteers to take DHA-rich fish oil over a 12 week period. In these tests, researchers found that there was an increase of blood flow to the active areas of the participant's brain. They measured this while the partakers performed similar mental assignments to the first group. The implications of this, researchers claim, could prove beneficial for mental function within older people. The suggestion is that it may help to prevent dementia and cognitive decline.

Scientists need to perform more tests. In fact, they plan to investigate further in people between the ages of 50 to 70 years. The aim of future studies is to assess the overall impact of fish oil supplements on the older volunteer's. They will look at memory, mental performance, and measure blood flow to the volunteer's brain. Scientists will get participants in the third study to take DHA-rich supplements for a six month duration this time.

You can read more details about these studies here:

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