Data from more than 180 research papers suggests fish oils could minimize the effects that junk food can have on the brain, a review by researchers at the University of Liverpool has shown.
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You can always do more to take better care of your brain, even if you haven't been experiencing any memory problems. In fact, a handful of Texas-based researchers have focused their efforts into finding more information on brain health, in order to help brains nationwide stay in better shape.
"The more knowledge we can share about the brain, the more we can empower individuals to take charge of their cognitive health," said Sandra Chapman, Ph.D., of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas (UT).
As an ongoing yearly tradition at UT, Chapman and her associates are planning to host a series of lectures they've titled "The Brain: An Owner's Guide." This year, the speakers will focus on how the brain controls thought and action, decisions and emotions that affect our lives, and how the internet has changed the way brains work.
Chapman also recently published a book on the subject on brain health, titled "Make Your Brain Smarter." In the tome, she presents the theories that aging does not impact brain health the way many people assume it does. In addition, having a good memory may not necessarily mean your brain is in the best shape, according to her findings.
Some suggested vitamins for healthy brains
While scientists continue to advance our knowledge of how the brain works, there a few things some people are already convinced may help improve the brain's overall functioning.
For example, writing for the official website of television health celebrity Dr. Oz, Dr. Rovenia Brock, Ph.D., recommends consuming omega-3 fatty acids, known to be especially present in fish oil for the improvement of brain, joint, eye and heart health. The names of the two omega-3 acids most commonly found in fish oil are called eicosapentaenoic (EPA) acid and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). For people who don't already consume fish frequently, Rovenia encourages them to munch down a 500 milligram (mg) supplement per day. DHA, states Rovenia, is already
present in the brain's nerve cells and additional DHA could aid the brain's development and functionality.
Likewise, the Alzheimer's Prevention and Research Foundation (APRF) notes that omega-3 acid from fish oil could potentially lessen an individual's chances of developing memory loss or dementia during old age. Exercise and consuming additional healthy foods could also reduce chances of brain deterioration.
However, the awareness and research organization provides a handful of other substances a person could consume regularly to help their minds keep fit.
In addition to omega 3….
Next on its list of measures that could help prevent brain deterioration, the APFR lists taking a comprehensive multivitamins on a daily basis. The organization postulates that brain damage has been linked to low blood levels of folic acid. Therefore, a multivitamin for brain health should contain 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid, as well as 500 mg of vitamin C.
The organization also recommends the antioxidant CoEnzyme Q10. It's said that this antioxidant will improve overall energy, especially if an individual is older than 35 years of age. While it occurs naturally in the body, the amount of CoEnzyme Q10 within humans starts to reduce over the years, which results in a loss of energy. In terms of dosage, the APRF says people should take between 200 and 400 mg of the antioxidant. Another antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid, and gingko biloba are also also on the APRF's compilation of potentially brain enhancing supplements.
While many people know that antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids are substances that may improve their heart health and overall well-being, they may not know that these healthy nutrients may also improve the appearance of skin. As we get older, skin can start to show the signs of aging like wrinkles and sagging, and the way that people eat can help combat this process.
Recently, The Gambit, a New Orleans news source, spoke to local dermatologist Barbara Bopp of East Jefferson Hospital, who explained how a healthy diet can help people achieve glowing skin.
Omega-3s are for more than heart health
According to the doctor, consuming more omega-3 fatty acids is one of the best ways that people can enhance their complexion. These healthy lipids can help the skin maintain moisture and may reduce a person's risk of developing a number of common skin conditions.
Health Magazine also spoke to dermatologists who touted the benefits of omega-3s for the skin. According to the news source, omega-3s may enhance brain health, and a 2005 study in the Journal of Lipid Research also found that omega-3s may help reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.
Bopp told the Gambit that omega-3s can be found in walnuts, avocados and fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna. However, for people who do not consume any of these foods, there are fish oil supplements that can also provide a healthy dose of omega-3s.
Antioxidants help combat toxins
Along with natural aging, the pollution people encounter during their day-to-day lives can make skin look older. Luckily, antioxidants can help fight off the effects of these toxins. According to Bopp, antioxidants can neutralize the free radicals from the environment that cause wrinkles. These highly charged ions come from car exhaust, cigarette smoke and other common forms of pollution that can damage skin cells.
Antioxidants can be found in blueberries, strawberries, green tea, pecans and many other healthy fruits and cruciferous vegetables.
Discovery Health states that unlike topical creams and moisturizers, antioxidants can help protect the skin from the inside out. Vitamin C, in particular, is an antioxidant that has been shown to benefit the skin. This nutrient is present in many citrus fruits, including oranges.
Bopp concluded by saying that people who want their skin to retain its youthful glow should be sure to drink plenty of water to keep their complexion hydrated.
Astaxanthin, an antioxidant found in krill oil supplements, may play an important role in supporting metabolic health, according to a new study published in the Journal of Food Science.
The findings are the latest in a string of research supporting the idea that astaxanthin has numerous health benefits. In recent months it has also been shown to play a role in heart health and in supporting healthy brain function.
In the current study, researchers from the China Medical University administered astaxanthin to a group of mice and compared the effects to mice fed a normal diet. The results showed that the mice receiving the astaxanthin had strong metabolic health.
Findings from the study further bolster the case that astaxanthin can provide powerful cardio-metabolic support. Individuals who are concerned about these areas of health may benefit from taking nutritional supplements containing the nutrient.
Krill oil supplements have become popular in recent months, as they are an excellent source of omega-3s in addition to astaxanthin. This makes taking these products a solid way to support many areas of health.
If you are like most Americans, chances are you do not consume adequate amounts of omega-3s. Yet health experts say that these are among the most important nutrients a person can include in their diet. So how do you go about getting more?
Molly Kimball, a registered dietitian in New Orleans, recently wrote in the Times-Picayune that fish oil derived from cod liver is among the richest sources of omega-3s available. This substance has the two primary varieties of omega-3s, DHA and EPA.
She wrote that a person could get adequate amounts of omega-3s simply by eating more fish like cods or salmons, but few people have the taste for fish to allow them to eat enough to satisfy their bodies' needs for omega-3s. For these individuals, fish oil can fill the void.
Aside from cod liver oil, individuals who are looking to increase their consumption of omega-3 supplements may benefit from looking into krill oil. These supplements have the added benefit of containing high levels of the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin, which may provide strong support for heart health.
Fish may not be the first food people think of when they consider their favorites. However, research continues to suggest that when it comes to heart health and brain health, it may be their body's favorite foods.
The reason is that most varieties of fish contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients have been shown to have a range of health benefits, most importantly in the cardiovascular system. Short of taking nutritional supplements, eating more fish may be one of the best ways to get more of these beneficial nutrients.
"I think overall, fish does provide a beneficial package of nutrients, in particular the omega-3s, that could explain this lower risk," Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a Harvard University researcher, recently told Reuters Health. "A lot of the evidence comes together suggesting that about two to three servings per week is enough to get the benefit."
The American Heart Association makes the exact same recommendation. The group says two or more servings of fish per week is an excellent way to boost omega-3 levels and support heart health.
With all the hype surrounding the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, individuals are increasingly looking for food sources of these important nutrients. To a growing extent, that means krill oil supplements.
Nutra Ingredients recently reported that sales of krill oil supplements have been growing at about 20 percent year. Furthermore, experts believe the trend will continue, with the products seeing annual growth rates of about 10 percent for the next few years.
Experts from the industry told the news source that they are beginning to see a greater demand from consumers for krill oil products in the past few years. The growth they are seeing is far beyond what was expected.
Numerous studies have shown that omega-3 concentrations in krill oil supplements are far greater than other sources and this may be the main reason for the increase in demand for these products.
Over the years, omega-3s have been shown to support brain health and heart health. The University of Maryland Medical Center characterizes the nutrients as "essential" because they play a key role in health but the body cannot make them.
A study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism on July 13th indicates that krill oil (which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids) may promote heart health and assist in weight management. The study was conducted on mice by Italian and Australian researchers. The mice were placed on a high-fat diet and then given supplements.
After 8 weeks, the mice had improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels and other health indicators. One researcher noted that krill oil, due to its omega-3 content, had the potential to support metabolic health which can be harmed by conditions like obesity.
The study examined the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on endocannabinoids, which can affect appetite, fat accumulation and other factors. The high-fat diet increased endocannabinoid activity in the mice studied, and the effects decreased after the mice consumed the krill oil. The favorable results have lead to further study, this time with human participants.
The CDC notes that unsaturated fats (including omega-3 fats) may boost health better than saturated fats. In addition to krill oil, good sources of unsaturated fats include fish oil, soybean or canola oil and walnuts. omega-3 fatty acids are frequently available through fish oil or other nutrient supplements.
The medical world is full of conflicting studies and it may seem as though it is impossible to stay ahead of the curve.
Several of these studies came out recently as an affront to omega-3s like fish oil supplements. People tend to read the headlines and skip the meat of the article, which can lead to confusion about the drugs and vitamins that are mentioned.
A recent study that was conducted by the National Cancer Institute noted that the risk of prostate cancer did not decrease when fish oil was taken. The article did not mention clearly that the men, aside from a select few, received their omega-3s through actual fish, not supplements, nutritionist Molly Kimball told Nola.com.
Kimball also pointed to the study's researchers, who claim that the heart health benefits of taking fish oil supplements far outweigh any possible increase of risk for prostate cancer. This was just one of many studies that have been released recently, the nutritionist said, quoted by the news source.
A week earlier, Healthnews.com examined a similar study and concluded that public health organizations recommend eating fish twice a week. They added that supplements are an alternative way to get the essential nutrients that contain omega-3.
Taking fish oil supplements has been linked to improving heart health and general wellness.