Flax Seed & Memory

Did you remember to take your flax today? If you use flax regularly you’ll never forget – one of the many benefits of flax, and omega 3 fatty acids, is improved memory.  Deficiencies in fatty acids can lead to not only memory issues, but ADD, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s.  We find it’s easiest to take flax first thing in the morning – in orange juice or oatmeal, before the day brings you out and about and it’s easy to forget!

Flax Seed, Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Your Brain

The brain is the control center for the rest of the body. A network of blood vessels supply the brain with the vast quantities of oxygen and food that keep it functioning for its important tasks while we sleep and are awake. The human brain makes up only 2% of our total body weight, yet it uses about 20% of the oxygen used by our entire body when at rest. Again, healthy blood vessels are essential for the brain to be at optimal functioning.

The brain is made up of many substances. More than 20% of the brain is made of fatty substances that fulfill important functions. The myelin sheaths which surround the brain cells contain essential fatty acids that are directly involved in transmitting and receiving brain messages from other parts of the body. You might say these essential fatty acids keep the "switchboard" or message center – your brain - functioning at its best.

flaxseed information - benefit

Studies of individuals with attention deficit disorder, depression, and early dementia related diseases have found corresponding links with fatty acid deficiencies. A 1996 study done by Purdue University found that boys with low blood levels of essential omega-3 fatty acids have a greater tendency to have problems with behavior, learning and health consistent to the pattern known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

A 1998 Symposium at the National Institute of Mental Health presented strong evidence regarding the important role of omega-3 essential fatty acids in treating depression and mild forms of schizophrenia. Typical diets fall short on omega-3 fatty acids (those found in flaxseed and fish such as salmon, trout and albacore tuna).

Researchers believe diets that maintain a balance of the essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) keep the neural networks in the brain functioning in a prescribed, automatic pattern. If the brain is deprived of the omega-3 essential fatty acids, the neural network must compensate and create a pseudo-pattern of reaction; usually creating a less efficient and delayed response. When this response is repeated day after day, it may cause the brain to imprint this ineffective pattern as the "norm". Problems evolve as essential linkages are blocked as the brain struggles to compensate. Memory problems, disorders in mood and learning difficulties may become symptomatic.

Flaxseed contains an abundant resource for omega-3 essential fatty acids. Promising research continues as scientists, physicians and nutritionists gain greater understanding as to the direct connection between dietary needs and optimal brain function. For further information on this research, please link to Research and Information. Also, further information about the omega-3 properties in flax seed can be found within this website.

NOTE: Information presented here does not replace seeking advice from your physician.