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DHA and Your Brain

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DHA and Your Brain

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Several of you have written with questions about DHA, a type of Omega-3 fat that’s important for healthy brain function. We know that DHA is important for the development of a baby’s brain, both before and after birth. And lately, it’s been proposed as a possible treatment for ADHD and as a hedge against Alzheimer’s disease—two very different disorders that are both on the rise. Could DHA be the secret to a healthy brain throughout life? Let’s take a look at the latest research and figure out how this nutrient fits into your diet.

DHA: The Brainy Member of the Omega-3 Family

As I talked about in my show on Fish Oil and Omega-3s, omega-3 isn’t a single nutrient but a whole family of fatty acids. Two of the most biologically active members of the omega-3 family are EPA and DHA. When you eat fish—or take a fish oil supplement—you’re getting some of each.
At the risk of over-simplifying a complex area of nutritional biochemistry, EPA helps keep your heart and blood vessels healthy, while DHA supports your brain and neurological function. So it makes sense for researchers to look for connections between DHA intake and cognitive disorders like ADHD and Alzheimer’s disease. But before you head to the vitamin shop, let’s see what they’ve found.


Several researchers have observed that kids with ADHD have lower levels of omega-3s, including DHA, in their cells and bloodstream. If ADHD might be due, even in part, to DHA deficiency, then we could hope that increasing DHA intake might be helpful. But there’s also some evidence that these lower blood levels aren’t due to lower intake but due to some sort of problem with fatty acid metabolism—in which case, increasing intake wouldn’t do any good. In a few studies where they’ve given omega-3 supplements to kids with ADHD, only small improvements were seen.

DHA and Alzheimer’s Disease

People with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia have lower levels of DHA in their blood. Unfortunately, DHA supplementation doesn’t seem to slow the progression of the disease in people who already have Alzheimer’s disease.
The burning question is whether taking in more DHA might prevent it—and the answer is not as obvious as it might sound. It could be, for example, that something about the disease process causes low DHA levels, rather than the other way around. In which case, increasing DHA wouldn’t necessarily do any good. Then again, when we look at big groups of people, it looks as if the people who eat the most fish have significantly lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
See also: Does Fried Fish Count?

Where to Get DHA?

You could start taking a DHA supplement. But after you buy your bottle of DHA, you’ll still have to buy dinner.
OK, so the jury is still out on DHA and Alzheimer’s disease. But maybe you’ve heard enough to convince you that this is a nutrient you want more of in your life. In that case, you have a choice. You could start taking a DHA supplement. But after you buy your bottle of DHA, you’ll still have to buy dinner. So why not just kill two birds with one stone and spend that money on a nice piece of fish instead? Fish is the most potent food source of DHA (and of heart-healthy EPA). The study I mentioned above found that people who ate fish 3 times a week cut their risk of Alzheimer’s disease in half.

How to Buy, Handle, and Prepare Fresh Fish

Now, I know that a lot of you find cooking fish to be somewhat intimidating. You’re not alone. When I was in culinary school, the unit on fish caused us more anxiety than anything else. But I have a fool-proof method for cooking any kind of fish, which I’ve demonstrated in this video. Here are tips on how to buy and handle fresh fish. If you’re still nervous about making fish at home, then get into the habit of ordering fish when you eat out. On average, Americans eat out five times a week…so you have more than enough opportunities to get your fish quotient in.
I haven’t forgotten my vegans! If you don’t consume animal products, your best food source of DHA would be an algae like spirulina—although it would take a small lake’s worth to equal the amount you’d get in a serving of salmon. There are also vegan DHA supplements.
Finally, for you do-it-yourself-ers, your body also has the ability to manufacture its own DHA using other fats in the omega-3 family, such as the kind found in flax and chia seeds. I talked about some ways to maximize this process in my previous episode on omega-3s.

Keep in Touch

If you have a suggestion for a future show topic or would like to find out about having me speak at your conference or event, send an email to nutrition@quickanddirtytips.com. You can also post comments and questions on my Nutrition Diva Facebook Page. I answer a lot of listener questions in my free weekly newsletter, so if you’ve sent a question my way, be sure you’re signed up to receive that.

Choosing Your Brain Training Program

The business sector for mind preparing items is expanding, as indicated by a study by the Encompassing Understanding. It is not only for the elderly any longer, the business is coming to various types of individuals and ages. Indeed, even kids from ages 4 to 7 are being focuses for mind and subjective preparing items.

In the report discharged by Encompassing Understanding, they anticipated that there are four items that will increment in income: evaluations, guides, mind diversions for cellular telephones and cerebrum wellness amusements and applications. Interest in organizations work in mind preparing has expanded throughout the years. In 2007, about $53.6 million was put resources into this industry. The year 2008, the industry saw an increment of 55% on speculations.

Distinctive items are penetrating into the business, how might you distinguish the best program for you? Cerebrum diversions may work diversely for every client. There are some who might battle on figuring out how a specific cerebrum wellness diversion functions. How might you realize that you are not squandering your cash on a mind diversion or a cerebrum coach?

• On the off chance that you are after a mentor, then make a point to work with a coach that would furnish you with unified consideration. Mind preparing works best when performed one-on-one. This is the same motivation behind why getting a product for your PC is better.

• One-on-one sessions are valuable in view of the unified consideration, as well as in light of the fact that they permit prompt input. Wrong propensities could be rectified and in the meantime positive propensities could be fortified through a prize framework or applause.

• Pick a program that would expand an intellectual expertise that needs to be taken a shot at. You don't need to pick a mind preparing program that would as of now chip away at an ability where you are great at. Investigate your qualities and shortcomings.

• Verify that a mind preparing project would be charming for you. The exact opposite thing you need is a preparation that would make you more drained or make youngsters less inspired by learning. Other than mind preparing ought not be similar to one more day in a classroom or office.

• When purchasing a mind preparing project, make a point to get all the vital arrangements or parts of the preparation. As your mind enhances, you will require distinctive difficulties which would set you up for the following step.

• On the off chance that you are after extensive mind preparing, then it would work on the off chance that you would be picking a program that does not just contain cerebrum recreations. Make a point to pick a program that would help you in applying the methods on your life, such as enhancing your fearlessness, memory, and even create velocity perusing systems.

• Before you request, inquire about first. Check the criticism on a particular preparing and system, what both specialists and clients/clients have said in regards to the specific project.

The achievement of mind preparing does not just depend on what sort of system you are utilizing. It is mix of physical activity, sound way of life and preparing. At the point when picking a cerebrum preparing program, the best is to pick a program that will help in enhancing your mind in a pace and technique you are agreeable with

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