New Research Shows Flaxseed Oil May Boost Brainpower

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Polyunsaturated vegetable or seed oils aren't typically known for cognitive benefits, but emerging research suggests a daily dose of flaxseed oil could provide a brain boost.

A recently published 12-week randomized controlled trial found older adults who consumed flaxseed oil performed better on tests of executive function compared to a control group.[1]

The study focused on verbal fluency assessed by the frontal assessment battery (FAB) test. This neurocognitive exam asks participants to name as many words as possible starting with a certain letter in one minute. Performance requires rapidly generating responses while inhibiting irrelevant words - key markers of executive function mediated by frontal lobe brain regions.

While vocabulary stays relatively stable over time, verbal fluency tends to decline with age. It also relies on working memory, processing speed and mental flexibility. Given the complexity of word retrieval tasks, they are considered fair gauges of overall brain health. In fact, worse performance on verbal fluency tests predicts higher Alzheimer's disease risk.  

This makes the flaxseed oil findings intriguing, especially since executive function enables activities of daily living that allow older adults to live independently. Study author Toshimi Ogawa suggests the oil's alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) - an omega-3 fatty acid - may optimize neural membranes and inter-connectivity in broad brain networks to enhance information processing and cognitive strategies.  

Sixty healthy Japanese seniors aged 65-80 were randomly assigned to ingest 3.7 grams per day of flaxseed oil, providing 2.2 grams of ALA, or a corn oil placebo over 12 weeks. The flaxseed group showed significantly greater gains on FAB verbal fluency scores compared to controls. Other cognitive measures like memory, attention and mental flexibility remained similar between groups.

So a daily dose of ALA-rich flaxseed oil, equivalent to about 1 tablespoon, appears to selectively benefit word recall -  a declining yet vital brain capacity. Omega-3s play structural and functional roles in neurons as precursors to anti-inflammatory compounds. Though more research is warranted, results suggest ALA triggers localized brain changes to partly "oil the gears" of executive function.

While fish oils boast more evidence for cushioning cognitive decline, flaxseed emerged as an intriguing contender that, as Ogawa describes, may "support verbal fluency even with increasing age." Its versatility, accessibility and lack of fishy flavor makes it an easier option for many to incorporate as a brain-boosting functional food.

So drizzle it on salads or add it to smoothies - flaxseed oil is attracting scientific interest and clinical promise as a supplement to fortify cognitive health in the second half of life. Stay tuned as more studies test whether this neuroprotective plant oil lives up to early hype as a brain booster that's easy to swallow.

**Flaxseed - Ancient Superfood With Over 70 Scientifically Validated Health Benefits**

As highlighted in the previous article summary, emerging research shows flaxseed oil may help boost brainpower and verbal fluency in seniors. But the health perks of this medicinal food extend far beyond cognitive benefits. 

Flaxseed deserves its ranking as one of the world's most important healing foods. Traditional societies have consumed the brown, tan or golden-hued seeds for thousands of years, and modern science continues affirming its safety and efficacy across an expansive spectrum.

Flaxseed's Benefits are Diverse and Profound

GreenMedInfo.com has compiled research demonstrating flaxseed's potential therapeutic value in over 70 health conditions. A few highlights include:

  • Protecting against breast, prostate, ovarian and colon cancer
  • Improving cholesterol profiles and cardiovascular health 
  • Soothing arthritis, interstitial cystitis and autoimmune issues
  • Preventing kidney disease and reducing liver damage
  • Alleviating constipation and stabilizing blood sugar 
  • Promoting hormone balance and detoxification
  • Boosting skin, eye and digestive health

This versatile edible seed also confers anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Its robust nutritional profile supplies beneficial fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, lignans and essential fatty acids. Due to its many merits and multiple uses, flax just may warrant that daily spot on your kitchen counter or office desk.

So sprinkle it atop salads and cereal, bake it into breads, blend it into smoothies - get creative with reaping this superfood's evidenced advantages. Visit GreenMedInfo's flaxseed database (https://greenmedinfo.com/substance/flaxseed) for the expanding science behind over 70 health conditions that this humble little seed may help prevent or improve. With even a small daily dose yielding a significant return on nutritional investment, let flaxseed become your next nutritional powerhouse potion.


References

[1] Ogawa, T., Sawane, K., Ookoshi, K., & Kawashima, R. (2023). Supplementation with flaxseed oil rich in alpha-linolenic acid improves verbal fluency in healthy older adults. Nutrients, 15(6). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15061499

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Key Research Topics

Sayer Ji
Founder of GreenMedInfo.com

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