Omega-3 fatty acids: The nutrient your mind can’t do without

Omega-3 fatty acids: The nutrient your mind can’t do without
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the building blocks of brain health, and here’s the unfortunate reality: most Americans don’t get enough omega-3s in their diet. If you’re deficient in this essential nutrient, your memory can suffer. Today’s video talks about that risk and how you can address it.

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Here is a transcript of this video:

If you go to the website of the Cleveland Clinic and go to the page that’s devoted to mild cognitive impairment, they offer a list of 15 recommendations for treating people with MCI and on that list is a healthy diet and the Mediterranean diet, but the Cleveland Clinic singles out omega-3 fatty acids as one nutrient that people with mild cognitive impairment should be getting.

And that caught my eye. So today, let’s talk about why.

Hi. My name is Tony Dearing and I write a column on brain health and prevention of dementia for and the Star-Ledger, and I am the creator of, a website dedicated to the needs and concerns of people with mild cognitive impairment.

I’ve just published a special report on omega-3 fatty acids. There are “bad” fats, and there are “good” fats. Omega-3 is a good fat, and it’s particularly good for your brain. At the risk of over-simplifying, think of omega-3 as motor oil for your mind.

For people with mild cognitive impairment, there are two things that you really need to know. The first is that most Americans don’t get nearly enough omega-3 fatty acids. I have seen statistics that say 70 percent of us don’t have enough omega-3 fatty acids in our diet.

One of the primary sources of omega-3 fatty acids is cold-water fish, like tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines, and most of us just don’t eat that much of that food.

The second thing you need to know about omega-3 fatty acids is that if you are deficient in them, that is strongly associated with cognitive decline.

So if you’re a deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, how do you get more? Well, one simple answer is: eat more fish. Both the Mediterranean diet and the MIND diet recommend fish as part of your diet — typically one or two 4-ounce servings a week.

Supplementation is also an option. Studies have found supplements seem to benefit cognition, but only in people who are low in omega-3 fatty acids. Consult your doctor before taking a supplement.

I do hope that you’ll take a look at this special report. I hope you find that information helpful, and I hope you’ll join me again next week. In the meantime, as always, be kind to your mind.

This site is educational, and is not intended as medical advice. It offers information about lifestyle choices that have been proven to help protect cognition. Always consult your doctor before making changes that can impact your health.

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