As a new study suggests, Fish may not be brain food after all. The study, published online September 25th, 2013 in the journal Neurology, found no difference in memory and thinking test scores based on levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood.
Study author Eric Ammann of the University of Iowa in Iowa City said the study involved 2,157 women ages 65-80 who were enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative clinical trials of hormone therapy. The women were given annual tests of thinking and memory skills for an average of six years.
Blood tests were taken to measure the amount of omega-3s in the participants’ blood before the start of the study.
The study, published in the journal Neurology, found no difference between the women with high and low levels of omega-3s in the blood at the time of the first memory tests. There was also no difference between the two groups in how fast their thinking skills declined over time.
“We do not recommend that people change their diet based on these results. Researchers continue to study the relationship between omega-3s and the health of the heart, blood vessels and brain,” Ammann said in a statement.
Among the findings published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology:
- There was no difference in thinking and memory skills between the women with high and low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood at the time of the first memory tests.
- There was also no difference between the two groups in how fast their thinking and memory skills declined over six years.
- However, the women with high levels of omega-3s in their blood had slightly better fine-motor speed and verbal fluency.
The best way to get omega-3s, she said, is through a healthy diet, rather than through supplements.
Eating vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes, nuts and oils like olive oil, and exercising appears to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementias, as well as many chronic diseases.