In this article:
- Brain development & brain cells
- Keeping your mind sharp with proper nutrition
- Brain composition
- Omega-3 fatty acids for brain health & improved cognitive functions
- Vegan Omega-3 vs Fish oil
- Balancing DHA & EPA
Our brains reach peak development by age 25. How are you maintaining brain health as you age? Don't just stop at brain teasers, crossword puzzles, and keeping up with cool trends and technology. Learn how incorporating Vegan Omega-3's into your daily dietary routine can help keep your mind sharp and focused (without the fish!).
It’s important to have a sharp, smart, and well-equipped mind. When we are babies, our parents and teachers work to develop our brains with all of the essential things that will make us intelligent and keep our brains healthy as we grow older. When we begin to age and move through life, our brains are loaded with an increasing amount of information, memories, and experiences.
We should always look for ways to keep our minds sharp, especially as we approach our later years. Between word puzzles and brain puzzles, there are plenty of ways to maintain a sharp and focused brain. Definitely try them all, but do not overlook Omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporating Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet can help sharpen the brain, especially for those experiencing cognitive decline.
The brain weighs about 3.3 pounds, is 60% fat, and is critical for day-to-day living. It is primarily responsible for controlling our anatomic system. Our thoughts, memories, speech, motor skills, vision, organ function, etc. are all under the control of our brain and spinal cord, which together make up the central nervous system.
As we age, our brains go through many changes. At age 25, the brain stops developing, and from that point forward, our brains begin to gradually decline. The frontal lobe and hippocampus begin to shrink. These areas of the brain are responsible for more sophisticated cognitive functioning and also for encoding new memories. The brain's outer surface begins to thin due to declining synaptic connections, resulting in slower cognition. This affects learning, cognitive functions like multitasking, and memory.
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fat chains that have numerous health benefits. The three primary Omega-3s are eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). DHA and EPA are found in animal foods and algae, while ALA is found in plants.
Fish oil is most often extracted from fatty fish (think salmon, anchovies, and sardines). Fish oil contains EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids, both known to promote heart health. They reduce the risk of heart disease and have skin health benefits, resulting in radiant skin. EPA and DHA are components of the cell membranes and have anti-inflammatory functions that support the body. Fish oil, however, is very impactful and beneficial for brain health, which is why fish oil supplements are widely used. While EPA and DHA can be found in fatty fish, many people do not consume an adequate amount of fish, and therefore most of us do not get enough EPA and DHA through our diets alone. To ensure that you are consuming a proper amount of EPA and DHA, try adding an Omega-3 supplement to your daily vitamin intake.
For those who follow vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based diets, there are plant-based alternatives available for incorporating the necessary Omega-3 nutrients in your diet. Sources such as seaweed, nori, spirulina, and chlorella are great alternatives that provide both DHA and EPA. From a supplement standpoint, boosting DHA and EPA can also be made possible with a form of Omega-3 sourced from marine algae. This ecologically-friendly formula can be harvested from wild marine environments or lab-grown as micro-algae. The Omega-3s we get from fish oil comes from the algae that fish consume when they feed. Obtaining Omega-3s from algae basically goes straight to the source, removing fish from the equation entirely.
You may be wondering how fatty acids help your brain stay healthy. The brain contains many cells, and Omega-3s are considered the building blocks of those cells. Omega-3 fatty acids DHA, and EPA play critical roles in brain function and structure. They bind to cell membranes and increase fluidity, which supports the brain's ability to absorb and adapt to new information. Omega-3s help sharpen memory, improve focus, boost concentration, and sustain good psychological and mental health. DHA is highly concentrated in the brain, accounting for about 40% of the unsaturated fatty acids found there. This is due to the uptake of DHA from lipids that cross through the blood-brain barrier. EHA, on the other hand, runs lower in the brain than DHA.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our brains at all stages of our lives. EPA and DHA are necessary for the development of a baby’s brain. Studies have shown that the babies of pregnant women who increase their intake of fish oil receive higher scores on intelligence tests and brain function in the early stages of development.
As we age, our cognitive function begins to decline. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve brain function in those who experience mild cognitive impairment. The older we get, the more susceptible we are to cognitive conditions and memory impairment. A typical and well-known example of this is dementia, which is linked to Alzheimer's disease. Incorporating Omega-3 fatty acids to deliver proper levels of EPA and DHA can help to manage cognitive impairment as we age.
It is no secret that taking care of your brain is extremely important. Brain calisthenics and puzzles are great, but they cannot do this work alone. Incorporating Amandean Vegan Omega-3 into your daily diet can enhance and sharpen your mind.
Amandean Vegan Omega-3 is unique, as it is pure Omega-3 but without the fish, making it vegan. Our eco-friendly marine algae oil is highly bioavailable and packed full of DHA and EPA. Grown safely in a cGMP controlled lab in the United States, our formula is non-GMO and has no contamination risk from ocean pollutants or heavy metals like mercury. Don't let age slow down your brain --- maintain optimal DHA and EPA levels with Amandean Vegan Omega-3.
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Effects of ω-3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Performance: A Meta-Analysis. Retrieved on May 13, 2020. From https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22305186/