Posted on Sun, 7 Sep 14
Age related loss of brain gray matter occurs insidiously over decades before clinical symptoms of dementia develop. Lifestyle and dietary factors are known to influence brain health, and a new study suggests eating fish can protect your brain.
To see if dietary fish is related to brain structural integrity, the relationship between brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and fish consumption was analysed in 260 cognitively normal individuals aged 65 years and older.
People who reported eating fish at least one to four times a week were found to have bigger brains (by up to 14%), specifically they had larger gray matter volumes in the hippocampus, precuneus, posterior cingulate, and orbital frontal cortex.
It is well known that regular fish consumption benefits vascular health, and provides several nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, that influence the structure and function of your brain.
“Lifestyle factors affect a variety of body systems and can have long-term effects on the health of the community,” commented the study investigators. “The long-term impact of these factors on the brain, and on vascular systems that affect brain health, critically affects brain reserve capacity. By reducing these risk factors, the long-term improvement in brain health will likely result in a delay in the clinical expression of any age-related neurodegenerative condition.
“The challenge is to implement prevention strategies decades prior to the peak time of dementia incidence when there are few, if any, signs of brain structural or functional abnormalities.”
Raji CA, Erickson KI, Lopez OL, Kuller LH, Gach HM, Thompson PM, Riverol M, Becker JT. Regular Fish Consumption and Age-Related Brain Gray Matter Loss. Am J Prev Med. 2014 Jul 29. pii: S0749-3797(14)00257-8.