You may think it sounds too good to be true to be able to change your brain structure by only eating a certain type of fat.
The following research is however of very high-quality and included structural neuroimaging, cognitive performance testing, vascular markers and additional blood tests (Witte AV, et.al., 2014).
65 healthy participants 50 to 75 years took either fish oil or a placebo for 26 weeks.
The results showed a significant increase in executive function after taking the fish oil for 26 weeks when compared to the placebo.
Even more interesting, the fish oil had beneficial effects on white matter microstructural integrity and gray matter volume.
Not only that, it also had beneficial effects on the carotid intima media thickness and diastolic blood pressure.
The carotid intima media is the inner layer of the blood vessel wall.
How much fish oil did they take?
They only took 2.2 g a day to get all those benefits.
If you want to add more things which will have a beneficial effect on your brain structure, you can add aerobic exercise and cognitive stimulation.
The participant in this study had mild cognitive impairment.
Compared to the control group, the participants taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement and participating in aerobic exercise and cognitive stimulation increased or preserved gray matter volume (Kobe T, et.al., 2016).
Gray matter volume decreased in the control group.
Sometimes you don’t have to make a lot of changes to get a lot of benefits.
Köbe T, Witte AV, Schnelle A, Lesemann A, Fabian S, Tesky VA, Pantel J, Flöel A. Combined omega-3 fatty acids, aerobic exercise and cognitive stimulation prevents decline in gray matter volume of the frontal, parietal and cingulate cortex in patients with mild cognitive impairment. Neuroimage. 2016 May 1;131:226-38.
Witte AV, Kerti L, Hermannstädter HM, Fiebach JB, Schreiber SJ, Schuchardt JP, Hahn A, Flöel A,
Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids improve brain function and structure in older adults.
Cereb Cortex. 2014 Nov;24(11):3059-68.
The anti-inflammatory effects of Omega 3 fatty acids are well known. Most people that eat a western diet can benefit from increasing the intake of Omega 3 fatty acid since their diet usually contains too much Omega 6 from vegetable oils and saturated fat from dairy and other animal sources.