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    What Is Omega-3 and Why Do Our Brains Need It?

    If there is one thing that scares me about aging, it is a decrease in mental capacity. For all of us adults, important regions of our brains — including grey matter — shrink with age. For some people, this means a loss of up to 20% of brain volume. Faced with that reality, I study everything I can on how to keep my brain as healthy as possible. Last month I wrote here on my current understanding of best practices and exactly what I am doing now. 

    Part of my daily regime is supplementation to make sure my brain is getting enough of the right nutrients. Supplements can be confusing, even for the people here at AGEIST who spend a lot of time studying the subject. My approach is to keep it simple, to take as few supplements as possible, and to make sure they are of the highest quality.  If there is a single product that will efficiently do the work of several individual ones, I will go for that one. This is one of many reasons I take Matter from Elysium Health. Not only does it have a proven B-vitamin complex and a potent antioxidant, it also has the best form of omega-3 I have seen. What is omega-3 and why do we need it? Let’s dive into some science. 

    About Omega-3

    Omega-3 is a fatty acid essential to good health. It is involved in the production of bone, in the maintenance of heart health and, most importantly, in long-term brain health. Yet 80% of Americans don’t get enough of these crucial fatty acids in their diet. 

    There are two omega-3 fatty acids that are critical to brain health and in short supply in most American diets: EPA and DHA. Several studies link higher omega-3 intake to decreased age-related mental decline and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. We’re learning that the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are essential nutrients that, among other benefits, help build your brain’s structure and regulate its ability to perform. 

    One way to get omega-3s is through food sources, but it’s ALA — not EPA and DHA — that’s found abundantly in flax seeds, walnuts, leafy greens, and avocados. EPA and DHA are found primarily in fish, but not everyone likes the strong tastes of wild cold-water fish. That’s why many people choose to supplement with fish oil, but there can be manufacturing quality issues, they can go rancid, and there can be the not-so-nice fishy burps. A number of fish oil supplements use a lemon flavor to cover the smell of the fish oil, but that can serve as a cover for fish oil that has gone rancid.

    I want to make sure I am getting the best quality and most bioavailable omega-3s — and the right amount. I eat a number of foods rich in ALA daily and I will have wild fish twice a week. But is that enough? With age, the ability of some forms of DHA to cross the blood-brain barrier is decreased, so it makes sense to investigate taking the most bioavailable forms for maximum benefit. That is what led me to Matter from Elysium Health

    Preferred Over Fish Oil 

    As soon as Matter from Elysium Health became available for order, I signed up. The science-backed formulation made so much sense to me, along with their sterling reputation for quality control. Matter’s EPA and DHA (as free fatty acids) are 3-4x more bioavailable than standard fish oil capsules (as ethyl esters) when taken on an empty stomach. Matter is shelf-stable, so there are no worries about fish oil gone rancid, and it has the NSF Certified for Sport seal, which ensures quality and purity.

    Matter contains 584mg of omega-3 fatty acid lysine complex (which includes 262mg EPA + DHA) in the free fatty acid form. Why is that important? Ethyl ester or triglyceride forms, found in standard fish oil, need to be hydrolyzed by gastric enzymes to the free fatty acid before they can be absorbed. Matter contains a pre-converted complex that rapidly dissolves to the free fatty acid. A human clinical study demonstrated that omega-3 free fatty acids exhibit much greater bioavailability relative to ethyl ester forms. 

    It also contains a B-vitamin complex in exactly the same formulation as was proven effective in the Oxford University VITACOG study of 168 adults. This B-vitamin complex slows age-related grey matter atrophy in regions important for learning and memory by an average of 86%. 

    At AGEIST, we are very careful about the products we endorse. I take Matter every day because I believe that it is effective in helping me maintain my long-term brain health. 

    David Stewart
    David Stewart
    David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.
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