Scientists link cognitive decline to diet

Scientists link cognitive decline to diet

As you age, it’s important to make sure that your brain is as fit as your body. Sure, it’s important that you be able to do things like go for a brisk walk around your neighborhood, but it’s just as important to remember how find your way around said neighborhood. This means staving off the effects of cognitive decline.

Experts from the Alzheimer’s Association linked several factors to the cognitive decline associated with the development of dementia. These included thyroid problems, excessive alcohol consumption, the side effects of certain medications and clinical depression. Additionally, certain dietary deficiencies can hurt the brain.

One team of scientists from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell suggested that deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids can be particularly harmful to neurological health.

Less than one-third meet recommendations

In a presentation before the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting, the authors of the new study discussed an experiment in which they asked 895 individuals to fill out questionnaires regarding their intake of various polyunsaturated fatty acids. This information was matched to their performance on various mental exercises.

“The participants were put through an intensive series of cognitive tests such as memory tests using a list of words, an attention test to repeat lists of numbers forward and backward, and a test of organization and planning involving copying complex figures,” researcher Tammy Scott, Ph.D., said in a statement. Scott and her colleagues followed these study subjects for two years.

Results showed that only 27 percent of study participants met the U.S. Dietary Guidelines to consume 1,750 milligrams of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA per week. Additionally, by matching the data on omega-3 consumption with cognitive test scores, the researchers were able to predict who would experience cognitive decline during the course of two years.

“While more research is needed to determine whether intake of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and trout can help prevent against cognitive decline, our preliminary data support previous research showing that intake of these types of fish have health benefits,” Scott added.

For those who have a hard time consuming sufficient amounts of fish, it may be helpful to turn to a fish oil supplement. The oil contained in Omax3 comes from anchovies and sardines, and is purified to remove any traces of unhealthy fats or pollutants.