It can sometimes be difficult to get your necessary nutrients through food alone. This can be especially true as you age because it’s common for your appetite to change and your nutrient needs to increase. If you’re someone who is worried at all about their brain or cognitive health, taking the right supplement may help.
“Brain supplements are specifically designed to benefit the brain’s health and function. Their purpose is primarily for long-term brain health, but there are some short-term benefits that can be expected as well,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements. “Some immediate benefits that should be expected include improved focus, a slight increase in energy, better sleep, and modest mood enhancement.
According to Best, when it comes to the best supplement for your brain, any supplement with omega-3 fatty acids is helpful in keeping your brain young and sharp.
Read on, and for more healthy aging tips check out 5 Coffee Habits That May Be Shortening Your Life.
How omega-3 fatty acids benefit your brain
“A diet that lacks omega-3 or one that has a significant imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6 can lead to poor cognitive function and brain health, so when it comes to making a list of foods and supplements that boost brain power, omega-3 containing foods are generally at the top,” says Best.
In fact, omega-3s are arguably some of the most important nutrients for brain health as you age.
“This is because roughly 60% of the brain is made of fat, and half that amount is omega-3 type fats; it has been found that omega-3-rich foods can help prevent cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and slow mental decline,” says Best. “The brain also requires omega-3 fat to make nerve cells, which are vital to memory and one’s ability to learn.”
According to a report published in Aging Research Reviews, adequate consumption of these fatty acids helped to slow down brain aging and cognitive decline related to the aging process. They’re even known to possibly help lower your risk of dementia.
Omega-3s have also been found to help certain mental health issues, and deficiency in this fatty acid has been linked to an increased risk of bipolar disorder, ADHD, and depression.
Finding the right omega-3 supplement
It can feel a bit intimidating to find the right omega-3 supplement with there being so many on the market today. Most of these supplements are made from fish oil, but there are vegetarian options you can find as well like algal oil.
There are three different types of omega-3s (ALA, EPA, and DHA) but many people suggest finding one that has a combination of DHA and EPA omega-3s, which a lot of popular supplements have. Research has also suggested that DHA omega-3s may be one of the most important ones for your brain. If you’re unsure, talk with your doctor about the best type for your personal needs.
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