“The time to worry about dementia is 30 years before it happens”
Brain Health and Education Research Institute
Approximately half of the brain is composed of fat, and 10-20 percent of that fat is omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA are key components of human health, and adequate consumption supports cognitive function, cardiovascular health, immune function, mental health, and vision. Furthermore, DHA is present in the membranes of nerve cells, and contributes to the trafficking of electrical impulses and the function of neurotransmission and is thought to contribute to anti-inflammatory processes.
We know the brain needs DHA. That is why it is included in infant formula and used as a supplement for cognitive health in aging populations. New research indicates that omega-3 can support brain health throughout our lives. A recent study, Association of Red Blood Cell Omega-3 Fatty Acids with MRI Markers and Cognitive Function in Midlife: The Framingham Heart Study (1), published in Neurology indicates that higher red blood cell levels of omega-3 were associated with better brain structure and cognitive function in healthy, middle-aged subjects. This is another piece of evidence that omega-3 is not just for the very young and the very old, it is important for all the years in between too, yet fewer than 20 percent of US consumers are getting enough DHA through their diets. Supplementation is one of the most effective ways to increase consumption and therefore increase levels of omega-3 in red blood cells.
Increasing Omega-3 Accessibility
While we do not know the optimal amount of DHA for brain health, we do know that at least eighty percent of the population needs to consume more. This nutrition gap can be attributed to many factors, including changing consumer preferences and an imbalance in the omega-6: omega-3 ratio in the modern food supply. So, how do we increase consumption, and do we have the resources and raw materials to help everyone meet their omega-3 needs?
Until recently, DHA and EPA were found exclusively in marine sources, mostly fish and algae. With Nutriterra® Total Omega-3, derived from Nuseed® Omega-3 Canola, there is now a new source for these essential nutrients.
Nutriterra is a plant-based source of omega-3 that supplies seven long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), including DHA, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). Nutriterra Total Omega-3 removes many barriers to supplementing with omega-3. It is mild tasting, easy to digest, and derived from canola, so people with plant-based diets or seafood allergies can get enough DHA to support brain health.
Proactive Supplementation and Cognitive Health: Common Sense and Science Converge
Aging is inevitable, cognitive decline as a result of inflammation and nutritional deficiencies is not. We can be proactive in protecting brain health by eliminating the gap between how much omega-3 is needed and how little is consumed.
DHA supplementation is not just for the very young or the very old. Omega-3 is foundational to brain health and function and plays an important role in maintaining a healthy inflammatory response. Plant-based Nutriterra reduces demand on ocean resources and expands accessibility of essential omega-3 fatty acids.
- Claudia L. Satizabal et al. Association of Red Blood Cell Omega-3 Fatty Acids with MRI Markers and Cognitive Function in Midlife — The Framingham Heart Study. Neurology, 2022 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000201296