Oily fish may increase brain size

People with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil preserve bigger brains as they age, the research shows.

In particular, they maintain more neurons in the hippocampus. 

Larger neural volume linked to omega-3 intake is equivalent to reducing the effects of brain ageing by up to two years, the authors said. 

Researchers measured levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the blood of 1111 women taking part in the US Women's Health Initiative Memory Study.

Eight years later, when the women had an average age of 78, MRI scans were performed to measure their brain volume. 

Those who started out with higher intakes of omega-3 were found to have larger total brain volumes.

A doubling of omega-3 levels was associated with a 0.7% increase in overall brain size.

In addition, the hippocampus area was 2.7% larger in women with higher levels of the fatty acids