Omega-3s and magnesium preserve cognition and physical health
Omega-3s slowed ALS
Those with better omega-3 levels saw slower progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The condition starves muscles and damages nerves that control muscle movement. In this study from Harvard, doctors measured omega-3 levels, including alpha-linolenic acid, in 499 participants with ALS, average age of 58.
After 18 months, those starting the study with the highest levels of alpha-linolenic acid saw a slower rate of decline in physical function and were 50 percent less likely to have died prematurely compared to those with the lowest alpha-linolenic levels. Those with higher levels of EPA and linoleic acid were also less likely to have died compared to those with lower levels.
Doctors said these fatty acids appear to protect nerves, and the findings suggest a link between diet and slowing the progression of ALS.
Reference: Neurology; 2023, WNL. 207485
Magnesium preserves brain volume and cognitive function
Since there is no cure for dementia, doctors are focusing on prevention. In this study, doctors measured magnesium in the diets of 6,001 cognitively healthy men and women, aged 40 to 73. The study found those who consumed more than 550 mg of magnesium per day have a brain age approximately one year younger by the age of 55 compared to those who consumed about 350 mg of magnesium per day.
Higher magnesium levels in the diet had a direct link to larger brain volumes, and smaller lesions in brain white matter, which doctors measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Lower brain volumes and more white-matter lesions are indicators of dementia.
Discussing the findings, doctors said a 41 percent increase in magnesium per day could lead to less age-related brain shrinkage, better cognitive function, and lower chances of dementia later in life.
Reference: European Journal of Nutrition; 2023, Vol. 62, 2039-51