How do I interpret the results so far of my omega-3 self-experimentation? I’m going to skip the obvious implications (I should do more experiments, I should take omega-3, . . . ) and jump to the less obvious ones:
1. Omega-6 may make things worse. The difference between flaxseed oil and olive oil was larger than the difference between flaxseed oil and nothing, implying that olive oil is worse than nothing. Perhaps this is because olive oil is relatively high in omega-6, which displaces omega-3. The Israeli Paradox points in the same anti-omega-6 direction as do lab experiments that suggest omega-6 fats are pro-inflammatory.
2. I should study other fats. My experiments don’t just imply that omega-3 fats have a big effect on brain function, they imply that fats in general have big effects — and that these effects can be easily measured (which is the interesting part).
3. Health providers should pay far more attention to brain function — to “brain health.” Improvements in balance led me to treatments that improved my performance on memory tests. Not surprising, since the whole brain is made of the same stuff (neurons, glial cells, etc.), but it implies that with easy to administer tests you could catch a wide range of brain problems long before they cause serious difficulties, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and injury-causing falls. Note that no doctor ever orders tests similar to those I have used. Yet my tests eventually revealed that I was suffering from what might be called omega-3 deficiency. One well-accepted test of mental function is the Mini-Mental State Exam. It consists of such questions as “What month of the year is this?”. By the standards of experimental psychology, it is incredibly crude. Experimental psychologists have a lot to teach the health community about how to measure brain function.