Jan 23, 2014

Can Fish Oil Delay the Onset of Alzheimer's ?

Those with higher levels of omega-3s had a 2.7 percent larger volume in the hippocampus area of the brain, which plays an important role in memory.

Can Fish Oil Delay the Onset of Alzheimer's

This study tells me that taking Omega-3, or eating foods like salmon, are a very good idea.

Can Alzheimer's be prevented? No.

However, could taking very good care of your brain help delay the onset of Alzheimer's or a related dementia? I believe the answer is yes.

Imagine this.

What if my mother, Dotty, had been on a brain health program like the one I introduced after she was diagnosed with probable Alzheimer's? If she started when she was in her 40s or 60s, would it have delayed the onset?

I believe it might have.

Dotty was diagnosed when she was 88 years old, and went to Heaven when she was almost 96 years old.

What if we had delayed her condition by five years with good brain health management? Her quality of life would have been improved.

Have you ever considered this?

The keywords here are delay, not prevent. Delayed the onset of Alzheimer's.

How many people actually live to be 96? Not many.

But, you or I could be one of them. This means, given the current state of affairs, that a person living that long has a 50 percent chance of living with Alzheimer's or a related dementia.

Related Content

Can Fish Oil Help Preserve Brain Cells?

The Gist

People with higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil may also have larger brain volumes in old age equivalent to preserving one to two years of brain health.

This according to a study published online in Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Shrinking brain volume is a sign of Alzheimer’s disease as well as normal aging.

The Findings

For the study, the levels of omega-3 fatty acids EPA+DHA in red blood cells were tested in 1,111 women who were part of the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. Eight years later, when the women were an average age of 78, MRI scans were taken to measure their brain volume.

Those with higher levels of omega-3s had larger total brain volumes eight years later. Those with twice as high levels of fatty acids (7.5 vs. 3.4 percent) had a 0.7 percent larger brain volume.
“These higher levels of fatty acids can be achieved through diet and the use of supplements, and the results suggest that the effect on brain volume is the equivalent of delaying the normal loss of brain cells that comes with aging by one to two years,” said study author James V. Pottala, PhD, of the University of South Dakota in Sioux Falls and Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc., in Richmond, Va.
Those with higher levels of omega-3s also had a 2.7 percent larger volume in the hippocampus area of the brain, which plays an important role in memory. In Alzheimer’s disease, the hippocampus begins to atrophy even before symptoms appear.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 27,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

To learn more about brain health, please visit www.aan.com/patients.

+Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room


Original content the Alzheimer's Reading Room