Fish Consumption May Protect Brain Health

Cerebrovascular disease is the second leading cause of death in the world. It is also the fifth in the U.S. and was responsible for 37.6 deaths per 100,000 individuals in the U.S. in 2017.

Cerebrovascular disease or vascular brain disease, refers to multiple conditions that affect the blood vessels and blood circulation in the brain, such as stroke and vascular malformation. 

Cerebrovascular diseases can result in the development and progression of cognitive impairment and dementia. 

Healthy lifestyle modifications, including making dietary changes, increasing physical activity levels, and quitting smoking can reduce the risk of cerebrovascular disease. There is a relation between higher intake of fish and lower risk of stroke. Fish are an excellent source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which may mediate these benefits on cerebrovascular health. 

New Research Study

A new study published in the journal Neurology by Aline Thomas and colleagues investigated the association of fish intake with global Cerebrovascular disease (CVD) burden based on brain MRI markers. 

Their study included 1,623 participants with a mean age of 72.3 years from the Three-City Dijon population-based cohort without dementia, stroke or history of hospitalized cardiovascular disease, who underwent brain MRI with automated assessment of the white matter hyperintensities, visual detection of infants and grading of dilated perivascular spaces. 

Their fish intake was assessed through a frequency questionnaire. They found that higher fish intake was associated with lower CVD burden. Also, they found evidence of effect modification by age, the association of fish to CVD was stronger in younger participants (65-69). In the younger age group, consuming fish 2-3 times a week was roughly equivalent to the effect of hypertension. 

The study’s senior author, Dr. Cecilia Samieri explains in an interview: “Our results are exciting because they show something as simple as eating two or more servings of fish each week is associated with fewer brain lesions and other markers of vascular brain damage, long before obvious signs of dementia appear. However, eating that much fish did not have a protective effect in people 75 years of age and older.”


Deep Shukla (2021, Nov 4). Regularly consuming fish may protect brain health. Medical News Today. Retrieved from: 

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