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Study Questions Fish Oil Brain Claims

Higher levels of omega-3 didn't boost thinking, memory test scores

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Nutritionist Samantha Heller from the Center for Cancer Care at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Conn., said, "While this study found no difference between high and low [blood] serum levels of omega-3 fatty acids in memory tests, the researchers did not examine the levels of omega-3 fatty acids and the incidence of dementia in that cohort over time."

Other studies have suggested that omega-3s have numerous benefits, according to Heller. "Evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acids have many positive health effects including lowering triglycerides [a type of blood fat], reducing the risk of some cancers, affecting mental health, fetal brain and eye development, lowering inflammation and more," she said.

The best way to get omega-3s, she said, is through a healthy diet, rather than through supplements.

"Diets that are replete with whole, healthy foods and very limited in processed, junk and fast food, help provide the body with all the nutrients, including healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, it needs," Heller said. "Eating vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes, nuts and oils like olive oil, and exercising appears to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementias, as well as many chronic diseases."

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