The Effects of Omega 3 on the Brain

Scientific literature indicates there's a relationship between the consumption of omega 3 fatty acids and brain health. Continue reading to find out more about its health benefits and how to get it.
The Effects of Omega 3 on the Brain

Last update: 25 May, 2020

Have you heard of the effects of omega 3 on the brain? Omega 3 is a fatty acid that’s essential for our bodies and is present in bluefish, nuts, and vegetable oils. Also, you can obtain it via supplements.

According to information published in the Annual Review of Food Science and Technology, its regular consumption brings many benefits to our health. Its anti-inflammatory properties are proof of this, in addition to its ability to reduce the risk of various chronic diseases.

Precisely, regarding the latter, several investigations determined that this nutrient is beneficial for the brain and its cognitive functions. Therefore, today we’d like to share some information about the effects of omega 3 on the brain.

Omega 3 fatty acids and brain

Studies are linking poor intake of omega 3 and impaired brain performance. These fatty acids appear to be essential nutrients for brain cells by binding to cell membranes.

Similarly, consuming these fatty acids regularly improves the functioning of the neurotransmitter receptors, as detailed in the information disclosed in Biomolecules & Therapeutics. The scientific literature also describes a relationship between the appearance of cognitive disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder, and a deficiency in omega 3.

However, there still needs to be more studies before we can establish conclusive results. Despite this, many treatments of cognitive processes focus today on changes in the microbiota and omega 3 supplementations.

Various types of food that contain Omega 3.
The consumption of omega 3 fatty acids has been positively related to better cognitive function. This topic is currently under investigation.

Omega 3 and omega 6

When it comes to your diet, it’s important to consider the balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. The former are precursors of anti-inflammatory molecules, while the latter are inflammatory molecules. For this reason, there should be a 1:1 ratio to prevent inflammation processes in the body.

Processed foods are usually rich in omega 6 acids, while bluefish and vegetable oils are rich in omega 3 acids. The current diet produces an imbalance towards omega 6 acids due to the boom in processed and fast food.

Therefore, it’s important to increase the consumption of fresh food. Thus, bluefish, nuts, and vegetable oils are essential elements in a diet because they increase your intake of omega 3 acids and rebalance the fats.

Omega 3 supplements

It’s quite common to supplement omega 3 in various situations. Many athletes, for example, use these supplements to prevent inflammation from injuries. Healthy adults can also use them to prevent the appearance of complex diseases in the medium to long term.

Likewise, and having seen the latest articles in the scientific literature, they should be a significant supplement in processes related to cognitive disorders or impairments. Its combination with prebiotics and probiotics can be interesting when it comes to treating some processes about depression.

A spoon with Omega 3 capsules.
Omega 3 supplements are ideal for obtaining this nutrient under special conditions such as illnesses or the practice of some sports.

Two servings of bluefish a week

The consumption of bluefish is essential for guaranteeing the correct supply of omega 3 acids. Until a few years ago, its intake was limited because people feared it would have an impact on the lipid profile. However, we know today that the intake of mono and polyunsaturated fat not only doesn’t increase cholesterol levels but actually may even reduce them slightly.

Therefore, the recommendations today are at least 2 servings of bluefish per week. However, this should be in combination with the regular consumption of raw vegetable oil.

Subjecting the oils to high temperatures leads to the loss of some of their nutrients and properties. In addition, overheating oils generates processes that lead to the appearance of waste products that are toxic to the body in the medium and long term, such as acrylamide.

Discover: 5 Signs That You’re Deficient in Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids


The regular consumption of omega 3 fatty acids is essential. It’s necessary to reduce your intake of processed products and increase the consumption of fresh products to regain the balance between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

This is because these types of fatty acids can prevent the onset of certain cognitive diseases according to the current literature on the subject. However, there still needs to be more studies to guarantee this evidence.

Finally, you must keep in mind that fat is a highly caloric nutrient. For this reason, its consumption must be within the framework of a balanced and normal calorie diet. This way, we can avoid gaining weight and any of the diseases that usually come with it.

  • Chang CY., Ke DS., Chen JY., Essential fatty acids and human brain. Acta Neuro Taiwa, 2009. 18 (4): 231-41.
  • Tanaka., Farooqui AA., Siddiqi NJ., et al., Effects of docosahexaenoic acid on neurotransmission. Biomol Ther (Seoul), 2012. 20 (2): 152-57.
  •  Deacon G., Kettle C., Hayes D., Dennis C., Tucci J., Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the treatment of depression. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2017. 57 (1): 212-223.
  •  Appleton KM., Sallis HM., Perry R., Ness AR., Churchill R., Omega 3 fatty acids for depression in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2015.