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Fighting Back Against Age Related Memory Loss With DHA

Mar 13, 2008
We're all familiar with the outward, so-called "visible signs" of aging: wrinkles, crow's feet, loss of skin elasticity, gray hair, to name just a few. North Americans spend millions of dollars annually to cover gray hair and try to erase wrinkles. Unfortunately, only a small majority actually pays attention to one of the more ominous and life altering signs of aging, namely: aging of the brain.

When a baby is born, he or she already possesses all of the neurons that they will ever have, although not all of the neurons have developed connections. As a baby grows, these neurons begin to fire and spring into action. The more a child learns, the more neurons awakened. This is why children have such a tremendous capacity for learning.

As a child grows from teenager to adult, the development of these neural pathways begins to slow down. Neurons are only productive if one uses them. Otherwise, these neurons, in essence, are sent a signal that tells them that they are no longer needed. Subsequently, they begin to go dormant. These neurons will remain so until such time as they are sent another signal telling them they are needed again; firing them back into action.

As you might suspect, if a person could keep more neurons from taking a break, brain function would remain at peak capacity for many years past childhood. The question is: just how does one keep those neural pathways active?

It turns out that our mothers were right after all when they forced us to take that detestable cod liver oil as young children. Scientists and medical professionals now know that fish oil contains a substance called docosahexaenoic acid, or, DHA for short. DHA is a compound found in those much-touted Omega-3 fatty acids, which occur in high concentrations in fish and fish oil products. It is also a crucial nutrient to the development of those all-important neurons.

In children, the recommended daily allowance of DHA helps young brains begin to awaken new neurons. The more neurons that begin to fire, the more they stimulate other neurons. This creates a chain reaction resulting in the burst of learning that is necessary for learning to crawl, walk, talk and more. In fact, up to 75% of brain growth occurs in these early childhood years.

When it comes to keeping these neurons active, DHA is an essential part of an adult's daily diet too. However, it is estimated that less than 50% of North American adults are currently getting the recommended dosage of daily DHA. There are a number of reasons for this. However, eventually it all points back to a lack of the right sources of Omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods in most North American diets.

As already mentioned, the main source for significant amounts of DHA is fish, especially coldwater fish, although most seafood contains significant levels of this nutrient. Since fish is not a substantial part of the North American diet overall, every adult should consider taking an Omega-3 fatty acid supplement. Don't worry; it's not as awful as the cod liver oil that you remember. Today, Omega-3 supplements come in capsule form, leaving you no excuses for not getting your DHA. If possible, it's best to find a DHA supplement which contains vitamins A and/or E or rosemary extract. These will not only add extra nutritional value, but they also help to stabilize the fish oil, which would otherwise break down at a faster rate.
About the Author
More information on DHA Essential Fatty Acid for memory loss is available at VitaNet , LLC Health Foods. http://vitanetonline.com/
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