While it might sound like a joke is coming — What blueberries and omega-3 fats have in common — it’s instead some really good news: Both of them have the potential to boost your brain power, but in different ways. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study, which lasted a total of 24 weeks and was recently published in Neurobiology of Aging,1 noted that, yes, your brain measurably benefits from the anthocyanins in blueberries and the fatty acids in certain fish.
What Kind of Omega-3 Fats and What Kind of Blueberries?
Participants were placed in one of four groups: 19 in the blueberry group; 17 in the fish oil group; 20 were given both fish oil and blueberries and another 20 were given a placebo. Freeze-dried blueberry powder from sources in Maine and California was used for the anthocyanin testing. The omega-3 was administered in the form of fish oil capsules from the Inflammation Research Foundation3 in Massachusetts.
Omega-3 Fat: How It’s Beneficial for Your Brain
Omega-3 fats are vital to your brain, helping to fight inflammation and offering numerous protections to your brain cells. For instance, a study in the journal Neurology found “older women with the highest levels of omega-3 fats … had better preservation of their brain as they aged than those with the lowest levels, which might mean they would maintain better brain function for an extra year or two.
Are You Getting Enough Omega-3s?
Having the optimal levels of DHA and EPA in your blood is a relative rarity, according to Bill Harris, president of OmegaQuant, who covered the topic in partnership with Aker BioMarine.10 Significant to note is that optimal levels of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are fairly rare in people worldwide except in areas where fish is eaten often, such as Greenland and Japan. In the U.S., however, around 95 percent of the population is omega-3 deficient.
Omega-3s: Good for Your Gut and Heart
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplements were researched in a U.K. study involving a number of university hospitals. The researchers concluded that omega-3 supplementation increases several short-chain fatty acid-producing bacteria.11
In fact, studies are clear that when you consume the optimal amount of omega-3s on a regular basis, you get a 230 percent return on your investment, according to one study. For every $1 spent on omega-3 supplements, health care costs related to heart disease were reduced by $2.30.
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