Ask The Pharmacist: Build a better brain with DHA
I bet you feel like you used to be smarter and quick at making decisions. I hear you, and at 52, I feel like my brain is still fairly sharp, but not like it was at 30. Let me ask you some personal questions: Do you forget things easily? Do you get derailed from a task easily or distracted by sounds and noises? What about your IQ?
When my now 24-year-old son was just nine, a doctor thought he had ADHD, and I came this close to putting him on a stimulant. Even though I declined the medicine, I used natural fish oils high in DHA, and he turned out to be naturally brilliant without any of those prescribed stimulants.
I’m not trying to alarm you about medications, but you should be informed so you can choose the best option for your loved ones. DHA fish oils are known to support a healthy brain and attention span in all people, young and old.
Studies have involved children and teenagers who had low levels of DHA and they, not surprisingly, had poor reading scores as well as behavioral problems. Could these children benefit from omega-3 supplementation?
Low DHA in children aged seven through nine were associated with reading comprehension that was below average, as well as behavioral issues. Why aren’t physicians considering DHA supplementation as a first-line treatment? Probably because the pharmaceutical sales people aren’t hyping those up.
Some studies point to DHA supplementation as a method of increasing overall intelligence as you get older. Can you imagine?! They based this finding on kids between the ages of three and five years old who had received omega-3 fat supplements as infants. Those kids outscored children who were in the placebo group who did not get the omega fats. By “outscored” I mean they had better results across the board on both vocabulary and intelligence tests.
Omega-3 fatty acids seem to boost and balance your brain function. Basically, I’m saying we’re all fatheads and need good fats for our brain which consists of lipophilic cells.
About 60 percent or slightly more brain material is comprised of fat. Of the total fat, DHA makes up approximately 20 percent of your brain’s cerebral cortex. That’s the part of your brain that helps you think, learn a language, correctly perceive things, reason and comprehend. It's involved in voluntary movement so when you think, "I need to pick up that pen," your arm automatically does that for you, compliments of your cerebral cortex.
DHA plays an undeniable role for your cerebral cortex and your nerves. It’s found in unusually high levels in your neurons (the cells of your brain and spinal cord). That’s why patients with a TBI (traumatic brain injury) are told to take omega 3 fatty acids that are high in DHA content.
When you combine DHA fish oil with vitamin D or the calming mineral magnesium, the result can be even more astonishing, especially if you have other signs of cognitive decline such as memory loss, senior moments and problems making decisions.
Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.