Brains 457


3 min read

Simon Körösi

Reviewed by: Joanna Elmes

Omega-3 is a type of fat found in cell membranes. It's produced in our bodies, but at a very slow pace, so we primarily obtain it from our diet. Oily fish, such as mackerel, tuna, herring, and salmon, have particularly high levels of omega-3.

Omega-3 fats are a crucial family of polyunsaturated fats. There are three main types of omega-3s:

Eicosapentaenoic acid (epa) and docosahexaenoic acid (dha) primarily come from fish, and so are sometimes referred to as marine omega-3s.


Alpha-linolenic acid (ala), the most common omega-3 fatty acid in most western diets, is found in vegetable oils and nuts (especially walnuts). The human body generally uses ala for energy, and its conversion into epa and dha is very limited.


Having at least some omega-3s in red blood cells was linked to better brain structure and cognitive function among healthy study volunteers, according to research published 2022 in neurology®, the medical journal of the american academy of neurology.

The study of 2,183 dementia- and stroke-free participants found that:
Consuming more omega-3s was associated with better abstract reasoning, or the ability to understand complex concepts using logical thinking.


Apoe4 carriers with a higher omega-3 index had less small-vessel disease. the apoe4 gene is linked to cardiovascular disease and vascular dementia.



"Omega-3 fatty acids such as epa and dha are key micronutrients that enhance and protect the brain"


said study coauthor Debora Melo van Lent, PhD, postdoctoral research fellow at the biggs institute.


"Our study is one of the first to observe this effect in a younger population."