Feeds

Does eating fish improve brain function?

Oh my, Omega-3

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Also in this week's column:

Does eating fish improve brain function?

Asked by Tammy Courtland of Boston, Massachusetts

It is no wonder that health authorities usually recommend the eating of two or three servings of fish per week for most people. This is because fatty, cold-water fish contain healthy omega-3 fats (DHA and EPA). Rich sources of these marine omega-3 fats are sardines, salmon, mackerel, and fresh tuna.

There is some evidence to show that poor dietary intakes or low blood levels of these omega-3 fats can result in learning difficulties, behavioral problems, and mental illness. This may indicate a strong relationship between eating fish and brain development.

Sixty per cent of the brain is composed of fat - but not just any fat. DHA and EPA are good fats. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is important for normal brain and vision development. The increased intelligence and academic performance of breastfed compared with formula-fed infants has been attributed in part to the increased DHA content of human milk.

Cultures whose diet is high in DHA have a lower incidence of degenerative diseases of the central nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis. Some children with ADHD and poor school performance have been shown to have insufficient DHA in their diet.

EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is also important in brain and eye development and function. EPA has been used to treat depression, bipolar disorder, Huntington's chorea, chronic fatigue syndrome (myalgic encephalomyelitis), obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia.

According to Dr Shawn Somerset of the School of Public Health at Griffith University in Australia: "No study has proved that eating more fish will make you smarter."

So it is not true that the more fish you eat, the smarter you become. If this were so, then Eskimos, who eat perhaps the highest amounts of fish as any people anywhere in the world, would all be geniuses. Yet having survived for so many centuries in such a brutally harsh environment, perhaps they are.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.