A diet rich in fish that contains omega-3 may protect the brain from the impacts of air pollution, according to a new study published in the National Institute of Health.
Researchers have found that tiny air pollutants can cause changes in the brains structure that resembles the impact of Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia.
To assess the factors that may alter the impact that air pollution has on the brain, researchers from the American Academy of Neurology conducted an experiment on 1,315 women with an average age of 70.
The women completed questionnaires about their diet, physical activity and medical history and then participants were given blood tests.
The researchers then looked at each women’s home address to determine their three-year average exposure to air pollution.
After adjusting for age, education, smoking and other factors that could affect brain shrinkage, the researchers found that women who had the highest levels of omega-3 in the blood had greater levels of white matter.
White matter is found in the deeper tissues of the brain and is linked to dementia, the researchers found that for each quartile increase in air pollution, the average white matter volume was 11.52 cm3 smaller among people with lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Therefore, the researchers have concluded that having a diet filled with omega-3 may protect the brain against the impacts of air pollution.
Ka He, M.D., Sc.D., of Columbia University in New York said: ‘Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to fight inflammation and maintain brain structure in ageing brains.
‘They have also been found to reduce brain damage caused by neurotoxins like lead and mercury. So we explored if omega-3 fatty acids have a protective effect against another neurotoxin, the fine particulate matter found in air pollution.
‘Our findings suggest that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood from fish consumption may preserve brain volume as women age and possibly protect against the potentially toxic effects of air pollution.’