theseasnutrientforyourbrainmain
15 Mar 2011
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Rosie Brogan

The sea's nutrient for your brain

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Want to feel happier and think more clearly? The sea is your answer, reports Rosie Brogan.

So essential are omega-3 fats to brain health, they may directly affect our mood.

“Seafood reduces hostility and aggression,” writes nutrition medicine and psychiatry expert, Patrick Holford, in The Feel Good Factor: 10 proven ways to boost your mood and motivate yourself. “These fats are not just essential for building and rebuilding your brain but they’re also very much a part of the equation for happiness.”

This is because your blood levels of omega-3s predict how high your serotonin levels (the feel-good neurotransmitter) are likely to be. As Holford says, the more omega-3s in your blood, the more serotonin you produce and the more you responsive you are to its effects.

Mood aside, omega-3s add flex to your brain’s muscle. As the DHA/EPA Omega-3 Institute reports (an education and awareness group headed by Dr. Bruce Holub, University Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelp), DHA—the potent omega-3 fat, docosahexaenoic acid—supports functions such as learning and memory.

It has been suggested that DHA helps maintain your brain’s highly fluid environment, which provides better infrastructure upon which neurons can communicate with each other. And there’s some evidence suggesting the other major omega-3 fat, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) may assist the brain’s blood flow and may influence its immune system.

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Emerging research also suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial in supporting cognitive function in school children, and the elderly with aged associated cognitive decline.

References available on request