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NMU 54 – Higher Omega-3 Fat Status Linked To Better Brain Blood Flow, Improved Mental Performance and Reduced Markers for Future-onset Alzheimer’s Disease

Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update No. 54 (May 25, 2017)

with Dr. James Meschino


Research Topic: Higher Omega-3 Fat Status Linked To Better Brain Blood Flow, Improved Mental Performance and Reduced Markers for Future-onset Alzheimer’s Disease

Source: Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (May 19, 2017)

The research I am citing today was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease on May 19, 2017.  The study lends further support to the mounting evidence showing that omega-3 fats help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, this study showed that individuals with higher omega-3 fat status also had better blood flow to key areas of the brain required for mental performance and the prevention of age-related memory loss. Subjects with higher omega-3 fat status also showed better mental performance or cognition upon computerized testing of their neurocognitive status. The study involved 166 patients from a psychiatric referral clinic for which omega-3 fat status had been measured.  The subjects with a high omega-3 fat status showed improved blood flow to key regions of the brain important for learning, memory, and the prevention of depression and dementia.

The study used the SPECT scan technology, which provided an accurate image of blood flow to 128 regions within the brain. Many recent studies have shown a correlation between more optimal omega-3 fat status and intake levels and the prevention of key steps associated with Alzheimer’s disease. For instance, in human observational studies and animal studies, we have seen that omega-3 fats help prevent the buildup of beta-amyloid plaque and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, which are unique features seen in the Alzheimer’s disease brain. Omega-3 fats also reduce brain inflammation and this most recent study now shows that omega-3 fats improve blood flow to key regions in the brain and improve cognitive performance.

The Lead Author Daniel G. Amen, MD, adds, “This is very important research because it shows a correlation between lower omega-3 fatty acid levels and reduced brain blood flow to regions important for learning, memory, depression and dementia.” As to how much omega-3 fat you need each day to optimize your omega-3 fat status, the evidence we have so far suggests that the ingestion of 400 mg of omega-3 fat per day, on average, is protective against Alzheimer’s disease. The omega-3 fats of interest are EPA and DHA. Thus, if you took a 1000 mg capsule of fish oil each day and it was standardized to 30% EPA and 20% DHA, it would yield 500 mg of important omega-3 fats.

I’ve included a link to the featured research study in the text below.


1. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease  May 19, 2017,



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