Fish may be a risk reducing factor for Alzheimer’s

Rather than looking to a pharmaceutical to help maintain long-term brain health, the answer may be as simple as sitting down and enjoying meal of rich sourced Omega-3s.

You’ll find your richest Omega-3s in salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, flax seeds and walnuts. Omega-3s are unsaturated fatty acids and certain types have already proven beneficial in reducing heart disease and strokes.

The controversy when it comes to Alzheimer’s is that the DHA version of Omega 3 was not proven to be any more effective than a placebo in a 2009 sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study. Other studies show higher amounts Omega-3 to have a possible effect.

A more recent published study by Dr. Cyrus Raji, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine took a different approach. The study participants (260) were questioned on their weekly fish eating habits and 10 years later had a MRI brain scan.

Ruling out factors such as gender, age and level of physical activity, those who had consistently consumed fish (baked or broiled, but not fried) once a week had a larger portion of gray brain matter (areas of memory and learning).

Participants with the larger gray matter incurred less mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s. By contrast, patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s often have a smaller or shrinking brain structure.

Raji hypotheses the value of Omega-3s from eating a natural source of fish is in

  • Increasing blood flow and allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach the brain
  • Reducing potential brain inflammation
  • Protecting against the Alzheimer’s plaque build-up within the neural network

While this is not a conclusive risk reduction strategy, additional studies are needed to confirm these results. However, the study is significant for finding a relationship between eating fish and brain structure.

The information posted herein is for informational purposes only. Before making any changes in your eating habits, consult with your health care provider to determine what is best for you.