Wild salmon fillets in an undated photo. Having salmon for
dinner is not just good for your heart, it may also improve your disposition,
according to a University of Pittsburgh study. [Reuters]
Having salmon for dinner is not just good for your heart, it may also improve
your disposition, according to a University of Pittsburgh study. It found that
omega-3 fatty acids, which are plentiful in fatty fish like salmon, seem to
affect areas of the brain associated with emotion.
Dr. Sarah M. Conklin presented the findings in Budapest, Hungary at the
American Psychosomatic Society's annual meeting.
The team previously observed that people with lower blood levels of omega-3
fatty acids were more apt to have a negative outlook and to be more impulsive,
while those with higher levels typically were more agreeable and less likely to
exhibit a sour mood.
In their latest study, Conklin and colleagues set out to see whether the
volume of gray matter in the brain, especially in areas related to mood, was
proportionally related to the amount of omega-3 fatty acid consumed.
They asked 55 healthy adults about their average intake of omega-3 fatty
acids and used MRI bran scans to determine gray matter volume.
As the researchers theorized, the higher the intake of omega-3 the larger
were the volumes of gray matter in areas of the brain associated with mood and
regulation of emotion.
While these findings hint that omega-3s may contribute to structural
improvement in areas of the brain related to emotion -- the same areas where
gray matter is reduced in people with mood disorders such as depression --
further studies are needed to determine whether eating fish actually causes
changes in the brain, the researchers note.