Omega 3s: Using Our Heads to Nourish Our Brains

We sometimes hear about ways that we can take care of our organs by the foods we injest. When we think about our diet we cannot help but think about the effect our choices have on our heart, liver and other internal and external organs. And yet, what of the brain? When it comes to our diet, the brain has generally been the most overlooked organ, when the brain is actually affected quite strongly by our dietary choices.Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are among the very best brain nutrients. As it turns out, omega-3's apparently protect the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids are made out of DHA (or docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (or eicosapentaenoic acid).

Perhaps the top asset to the brain is DHA, the principal polyunsaturated fat in the central nervous system. DHA is claimed to have a direct effect on brain chemistry, development and functioning. DHA is vitally important for individuals of all ages, but DHA is as critical to a child's diet as TV shows are to prime time television. The richest single source of omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish and/or fish oil.

There are a number of ways that the omega-3's found in fish oil may manage the brain. Here are a few of them, based on scientific research.DHA assists in regulating serotonin, a neurotransmitter known for keeping us "feeling good." Continually sad people often have relatively low levels of serotonin. Research suggests people that injest large amounts of fish are less likely to be chronically sad. Furthermore, a scientific study from Australia confirmed that the most severely saddened participants had imbalances of fatty acids in their cell membranes as well as in their blood.

Fish Oil may also encourage calm thinking. The expression of stress-triggered aggression has proven to be less likely if your brain is under the influence of fish oil, according to an extensive study in Japan. In a test of forty-one adult students, those taking 1.5 to 1.8 grams of DHA (in fish oil) for three months were less likely to become more aggressive at a time of mental stress: final exams. On the other side of the study, students taking dummy capsules displayed sometimes rather explosive moments of social aggression.

This might also explain why fish oil is good for heart health. Stress hormones triggered by anger and hostility may constrict the arteries and accelerate the formation of blockages. Fish oil is claimed to restrict the release of such detrimental hormones.

Babies must get adequate omega-3 oils (from fish oil or other sources) for top brain development. In a study of premature babies, those fed breast milk had eight points higher IQ at age eight than those fed standard infant formula. This seems to suggest that the higher amounts of DHA in breast milk may contribute to superior intelligence. For additional detail visit visit

Fish Oil Facts to learn more about fish oil.

Ryan Joseph is a writer/researcher. For more info visit



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