February 29, 2012

A diet lacking in omega-3 fatty acids may cause the brain to age faster and lose some of its memory and thinking capabilities, U.S. researchers said.

Dr. Zaldy S. Tan, a member of the Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the study involved 1,575 dementia-free study subjects — average age 67 — who underwent brain scans and were given tests measuring mental function, body mass and omega-3 fatty acid levels in their red blood cells.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, found people with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids — found in fatty fish such as sardines or salmon — have lower brain volumes, equivalent to about two years of structural brain aging.

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