Oily fish has a key role to play in a balanced diet. Because the body cannot manufacture omega-3 fatty acids, they have to be consumed in foods or supplements and now scientists believe they can boost the brain AND aid nerve cell repair.
When nerves are damaged because of an accident or injury, patients experience pain, weakness and muscle paralysis, which can leave them disabled, and recovery rates are poor.
A study from Queen Mary, University of London suggests that omega-3s, which are found in fish oil, could help prevent damange and speed recovery.
The research on mice found enrichment with omega-3 fatty acids in cells gave them significant protection from damage and decreased cell death.
Adina Michael-Titus, Professor of Neuroscience at Barts and The London Medical School, said: “Our previous research has shown that these fatty acids could have beneficial effects in a number of neurological conditions. This new study suggests that they could also have a role in treating peripheral nerve injuries.
“More work is needed but our research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids can protect damaged nerve cells, which is a critical first step in a successful neurological recovery.”