Think fish oil
Emerging research is now showing that Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. An article on WebMD dated Dec. 26, 2007, by Daniel J. DeNoon, titled Fish Oil Prevents Alzheimer’s Plaques: Brain Needs Fish Oil Fatty Acid to Make Plaque-Fighting Protein, discusses how the brain needs the fish oil fatty acid DHA in order to produce a plaque-fighting protein. Researchers at UCLA, under the leadership of Greg M. Cole, PhD, found that those people who took a lot of DHA reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and determined that it was due to DHA’s ability to cause brain cells to increase the production of the protein LR11 (also called SorLA).
LR11 acts to help clear the brain of amyloid precursor protein. Amyloid precursor protein is essential for the production of beta-amyloid plaque, the plaque that seems to clog the brains of people afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated that approximately 15% of people with Alzheimer’s disease carry a genetic mutation that reduces LR11.
Just last month, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published an article citing more evidence that Omega-3s may reduce the risk of dementia and depression. The article, Low plasma eicosapentaenoic acid and depressive symptomatology are independent predictors of dementia risk by Samieri C et al., discusses how plasma Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been shown to be inversely related to the risk of dementia and to depression, frequently associated with dementia.
Samieri reports that a high level of plasma EPA (Omega-3 fatty acid) concentration may decrease the risk of dementia. Further, it is reported that ratios of Omega-6 fatty acids to Omega-3 fatty acids may actually increase risk. This was especially true when the ratio of Arachidonic acid (AA, an Omega-6) to DHA (docosahexanoinc acid, an Omega-3) was high. The increased risk due to the high ratios of Omega-6 to Omega-3s was especially applicable in depressed older persons. Samieri concludes by stating that the role of EPA in dementia warrants further research.
The research into the therapeutic benefit of Omega-3s will continue and new revelations regarding their incredible health benefits will undoubtedly continue to accumulate.