Harvard Health Letter

Do omega-3s protect your thinking skills?

It may be helpful to eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

omega-3 thinking skills
Image: Elena_Danileiko/Thinkstock

Maybe you're hoping to protect your thinking skills by eating oily fish like salmon or taking a daily fish oil supplement. After all, the media frequently talk about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, and sales of fish oil supplements are $1 billion per year in the United States. But can fish oil keep us thinking clearly? "For people who are healthy, who don't have a decline in memory and thinking skills, the question of prevention has not yet been answered," Dr. Scott McGinnis, an assistant professor in neurology at Harvard Medical School, explains.

About omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats in food that are essential for health. There are three main types:

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