Do you have an omega-3 fatty acid rich diet? You should! Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for health, including your brain health.
What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, also called polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). The body cannot make omega-3 fatty acids, so you need to get them through your foods. The George Mateljan Foundation states that there are three important omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). When you ingest alpha-linolenic acid rich foods, your body converts them into DHA and EPA.
The University of Maryland Medical Center stated that “omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function.” Not having enough omega-3 fatty acids can cause some health problems. For example, symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include poor circulation, poor memory, fatigue, dry skin, mood swings and heart problems.
How Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help the Brain
Part of omega-3 fatty acids' role in healthy body function is maintaining cell membranes. If a cell's membrane breaks down, it interrupts normal communication between cells. But omega-3 fatty acids can also help with certain brain disorders.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): patients with ADHD may have lower levels of certain omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Studies on the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on symptoms have mixed results. Some found improvement with behavioral symptoms, while others found no effect when combined with stimulant medications.
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