Sugar May Make You Stupid, But Omega-3’s Can Help Improve Impaired Cognition

So it turns out that fructose-induced metabolic syndrome makes you stupid. …at least it does if you’re a rat, or presumably, are rat-brained.

In a new paper published in the May 2012 issue of The Journal of Physiology with the catchy title, “Metabolic syndrome’ in the brain: deficiency in omega-3 fatty acid exacerbates dysfunctions in insulin receptor signalling and cognition”, UCLA biologists Rahul Agrawal and Fernando Gomez-Pinilla posit that cognitive impairment resulting from metabolic syndrome can be corrected by supplementing with Omega 3 fatty acids. This is the real news behind the headline, and the authors endeavor to describe it clearly:

All parameters of metabolic dysfunction related to the fructose treatment were ameliorated by the presence of dietary n-3 fatty acid. Results showed that dietary n-3 fatty acid deficiency elevates the vulnerability to metabolic dysfunction and impaired cognitive functions by modulating insulin receptor signalling and synaptic plasticity.

Generally well worth reading if you want to learn a bit about metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, the consequences thereof, and what role Omega-3’s may have on correcting them.

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you should take fish oil supplements (or otherwise supplement DHA), the author’s seem to have a strong opinion on the matter:

Based on the abundant consumption of sugars in Western society, proper consumption of DHA emerges as a primary necessity to foster protection against the effects of metabolic syndrome in the brain.

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