Omega-3s work hard in your brain

Omega-3s work hard in your brain

There are many studies that link omega-3 fatty acids to better brain function, but scientists weren't sure how the nutrients were working – until now. New research showed just how polyunsaturated fats benefit brain cells.

Brain benefits from omega-3s
You've probably heard the claims that omega-3s will help your brain, but have come up short when looking for evidence. New research from the Institut de Pharmacologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire showed that lipids formed from polyunsaturated acids are integrated into cell membranes, and that's where they make a difference.

The scientists found that these polyunsaturated molecules make cell membranes more malleable. This allows cells to deform and divide into vesicles, a process called endocytosis. These new vesicles are then used to transport nerve messages.

This finding has potential to help scientists better understand just what omega-3s are doing to improve brain function.

Whole body health
The lipids that develop from omega-3s also benefit other areas besides the brain. Research published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology's online journal showed that these lipids can help to prevent liver damage in obese individuals.

"Our study shows for the first time that lipids called protectins and resolvins derived from omega-3 fatty acids can actually reduce the instance of liver complications, such as hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance, in obese people," said Joan Claria, a researcher from the University of Barcelona.

This type of research allows doctors to better recommend preventive dietary measures that high-risk patients can take. Making a change as simple as eating more fish or taking a fish oil supplement could be instrumental in preventing cognitive decline or liver problems.

Essential takeaways

  • Scientists recently discovered the process by which omega-3s help brain function.
  • Polyunsaturated acids form lipids that can also help to prevent liver damage.