Nutrition and Healing

Dr. Glenn Rothfeld’s Nutrition & Healing is intended to provide cutting-edge health information.
Nothing on this site should be interpreted as personal medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before changing anything related to your healthcare.

Keep your brain sharp… with FAT!

Sometimes, life can feel like a quiz show — especially as we age.

You’re constantly being called on to remember names and important dates… but you can’t hit that “buzzer” with the answer as quickly as you used to!

We all have our share of “senior moments” as we add more candles to our birthday cakes every year, but if forgetfulness is wreaking havoc on your life, it could be a sign of something more serious.

Memory loss that disrupts your everyday activities can be one of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease — and unfortunately, there’s no pill you can pop to undo the damage this degenerative condition can cause in your brain.

But according to the latest research, there’s a natural way to protect your brain from the ravages of Alzheimer’s — because omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, can put out the inflammation in your brain that encourages the disease to progress.

Now, we don’t know exactly what sets off Alzheimer’s, but we do know that when its signature plaques and tangles form in your brain, your gray matter becomes inflamed as a way to repair these damaged areas.

At the same time, the ability to get rid of that inflammation is impaired in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s — and that ongoing “fire” in your noggin can kill off brain cells and WORSEN both your cognitive and physical symptoms.

In the study out of Brazil, researchers reviewed multiple previous studies on the role of omega-3s in resolving Alzheimer’s brain inflammation. And the overwhelming conclusion was that omega-3s can help snuff out the “flames” and put the brakes on your brain’s decline.

The theory is that omega-3s work by increasing the activity of what are known as “specialized pro-resolving mediators” (SPMs), substances in your brain that, in turn, tame inflammation.

And these fatty acids don’t just protect your brain from Alzheimer’s and even Parkinson’s — they can also shield your heart from disease, reduce inflammation throughout your body, and fight the symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

So, regardless of whether everyday life is starting to feel like a game of Jeopardy! that you just can’t win, it’s a good idea to up your intake of omega-3s.

The most beneficial types of omega-3s are EPA and DHA, both of which you can get from eating oily varieties of fish or — if you don’t care for them — taking high-quality fish oil supplements.

But since fish oil can be tough for some people to stomach and also acts as a blood thinner, you can also look to plant sources like flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and their oils for the omega-3 ALA.

You can also try an English herb known as the ahiflower — it contains the omega-3 SDA, which your body converts into EPA.

But fish oil remains the best source of anti-inflammatory omega-3s in town!

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