Categories: Neurology

The Link Between Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Your Brain

Your diet has a huge impact on your body and its physiology. Various compounds that are present in the food that we consume manifest in our body in different forms, affecting our biochemistry in unique ways. They change or enhance structures at the molecular level, impacting tissues and organs as a whole. One of the main, irreplaceable organs in our body that benefits greatly from the right type of nutrients and compounds is the brain. A lot of organic compounds benefit this big organ, but none do it better than omega 3 fatty acids. Found most commonly in fish oil and ingested in the form of fish oil capsules, omega 3 fatty acids have a wide range of benefits for the brain, acting as a panacea for many brain ailments.  It also affects heart health, boosting it several folds. Fish oil contains EPA and DHA, two types of omega 3 fatty acids. These are present quite exclusively in fish and fish derived products and hence must be taken in that form. Fish capsules come into the picture when people fall short of their recommended fish intake.

There are various factors that make omega 3 fatty acids valuable to the brain. Listed below are some of the factors:

  • They Help in Cell Membrane Preservation and Growth: Omega 3 fatty acids are present mostly in brain cell membranes, making them more robust and improving connections between them. Thus, its intake has a direct correlation with superior brain development, especially in the case of a foetus developing inside the mother’s womb. They are also vital for proper brain functioning throughout life. Recent studies have shown that if not taken in adequate amounts, low levels of the fatty acid are directly proportional to accelerating brain aging, with the brain getting smaller as people age. Therefore, its deficit can lead to improper functioning of the brain.
  • They Boost Memory Function: Since omega 3 fatty acids are associated with brain cell repair and longevity, they have been proven to have wonderfully positive effects on the short and long-term memory of a person. Several studies suggest improvement in brain functioning and cognition in people with mild brain ailments like age related decline or MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment) when they take fish oil supplements. It must be noted, however, that fish oil or omega 3 fatty acid intake must be started as soon as possible. If you wait too long and start when you are older, it may not be as effective.
  • It May Have a Positive Effect on Mental Health Problems Like Depression: While the reason is still unclear, intake of fish oil can drastically improve depression symptoms in people as shown by recent studies. This positive effect increases if the subject also takes antidepressants in combination with omega 3 fatty acids. People with depression should opt for fish oil supplements with higher amounts of EPA.
  • Also, it is theorized that it may help in improving symptoms of mental health problems like borderline personality disorders (but further research and experimentation is yet to be done on this).

EPA and DHA are two omega 3 fatty acids that are vital to the brain’s functioning, longevity and performance. It is thus recommended that omega 3 fatty acids be taken daily as part of a preventive nutrition, so that future ailments are kept at bay. After all, as they say, prevention is better than cure.


Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Hosur, Salem, Tirunelveli and Bengaluru, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

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