Fish oil: A necessary supplement for cognitive function?

Fish oil may be good for a lot of conditions, but one of the weightier ones is cognitive function.

After all, having your brain intact trumps other benefits of fish oil such as glowing skin and joint mobility.

According to the Alzheimer’s association, ‘Long-term studies suggest that 10 to 20 percent of those aged 65 and older may have MCI.’i

It is important to draw attention to the association of fish oil and cognitive function, because as with any condition, it is easier to prevent with diet, lifestyle and supplementation than to treat.

Various studies have provided evidence that fish oil is associated with improved brain function.

In what cases may fish oil be helpful?

  1. One study demonstrated improved cognitive function and less atrophy among those without the APOE ε4 genetic predisposition. ii
  2. A small but significant study concluded that Omega-3 fatty acids along with antioxidants had immune and biochemical effects in patients with mild cognitive impairment. iii
  3. A review revealed that when EPA and DHA are given to individuals with mild cognitive impairment or age-related cognitive impairment the data now appear to be positive. However, when patients with established AD are supplemented with EPA and DHA it appears that no clear benefit is achieved. iv
  4. A double-blind randomized interventional study provides first-time evidence that long-chain Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids improve brain function in healthy older adults. v

Of course if you eat enough fish, you may not need to supplement your diet with fish oil.

Besides supplementation, here are some other sources of Omega-3 fatty acids:

  • salmon
  • mackerel
  • tuna
  • walnuts
  • flaxseed

What are you doing to increase your intake of brain-healthy fish oil?


ii Alzheimers Dement. 2015 Feb;11(2):226-35. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2014.02.005.


iv Adv Nutr November 2013 Adv Nutr vol. 4: 672-676, 2013. doi: 10.3945/an.113.004556.

v Cereb Cortex. 2014 Nov;24(11):3059-68. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht163.