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Study on Fish Oils and Alzheimer’s Disease shows Reduced Risk by 60%
Recent research on fish oils and Alzheimer’s disease show omega 3 fatty acids may help reduce your risk for getting the disease, but it’s unclear if it can stop the disease from progressing.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease? Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurological disorder characterized by problems with memory, behavior and thinking.
There is currently no cure for the disease, but there are treatments that may reduce or alleviate some of the symptoms associated with the disease.
But can you use fish oils to treat or reduce the symptoms of this condition? While research is still ongoing, here are the latest studies looking at the effects of fish oils and omega 3 fatty acids on Alzheimer’s disease and its symptoms.
1. Fish Oils may Reduce Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease by 60%
Chicago, Illinois – Researchers at the Rush Institute of Healthy Aging conducted a study to see if consuming fish and different omega 3 fatty acids will protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
Eight hundred and fifteen (815) participants unaffected by Alzheimer’s disease (between the ages of 65 and 94) were monitored from 1993 to 2000 and then followed-up for a 4 year period to see if they developed Alzheimer’s.
Researchers discovered patients who ate fish once or more per week, or increased the amount of omega 3 fatty acids in their diet, had a 60% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Omega 3 Fatty Acids may Reduce Symptoms in Mild Alzheimer’s Disease
Stockholm, Sweden – A study published in the October 2006 issue of the Archives of Neurology suggests fish oil supplements may slow cognitive decline in patients with very mild Alzheimer’s.
This double-blind, placebo-controlled study had one hundred and seventy four (174) Alzheimer’s patients receive either 430 mg. of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 150 mg. of eicosahexaenoic acid (EPA) four times a day or a placebo.
The randomized treatment lasted for 6 months, and then all subjects received the omega 3 fish oil supplements for another 6 months.
- Researchers discovered the patients who took omega 3 fatty acids experienced less change in their rate of cognitive decline compared to those who took the placebo.
- A smaller group of thirty two (32) patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease experienced a significant reduction in their rate of cognitive decline, compared to the placebo group.
- Researchers were surprised to learn when the placebo-group patients started taking the omega 3 supplements for 6 months after the trial, they also experienced the same reduction in mental decline.
3. Lower your Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease with a Healthy Diet
France – Newly released data from a three city study in France shows you may reduce your risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by increasing your consumption of fish oils, fruits, vegetables and other omega 3 oils, such as flax seed oil.
A total of 8,085 patients aged 65 and over, without dementia or Alzheimer’s, were included in a three city study in Dijon, Montpellier and Bordeaux in 1999 – 2000. All participants had at least one re-examination during the study.
Results of the study found:
Weekly consumption of fruits and vegetables was associated with reduced risk for dementia.
Eating fish every week resulted in a lower risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia, especially among participants not carrying the gene associated with the disease.
Regular use of omega 3 rich-oils (fish, flax seed and walnut oils) was associated with decreased risk for dementia.
An interesting note is researchers found an increased risk for dementia among participants who didn’t increase their intake of fish or omega 3 oils and ate a diet high in omega 6 oils (vegetable oils).
Editorial Comments on Fish Oils and Alzheimer’s Research
Although it may be premature to prescribe fish oils for people with Alzheimer’s disease, research shows eating plenty of fatty fish, fruits, vegetables and other omega 3 oils may lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease by up to 60%.
The current hypothesis is fish oil’s anti-inflammatory properties may have a positive effect in early (but not later) stages of the disease. However, scientists caution that more in-depth research is needed before forming any conclusions.
While the research looks encouraging, there are other factors you may need to look at for optimal mental health. Poor nutrition, environmental pollutants, stress, and illnesses may increase your risk for accelerating problems with your memory and concentration.
“….a vast intake of fruits and vegetables, eating fish rich in omega-3 oils and vegetarian protein substitutes (such as soy) are protective against memory loss.”
Omega 3 fatty acids and fish oils can help improve mood in some individuals. Fish oils are an excellent source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an important fatty acid found in high concentration in the brain.
Fortifying your diet with a high concentration omega 3 fish oil may help provide the nutrients your body needs for optimal function.
Fish Oils and Alzheimer’s Disease Research References:
Consumption of Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Risk of Incident Alzheimer Disease, Archives of Neurology 2003 Jul;60(7):940-6. Fish oils and alzheimers disease research study
Omega-3 fatty acid treatment in 174 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease: OmegAD study: a randomized double-blind trial. Archives of Neurology. 2006 Oct;63(10):1402-8.
Dietary patterns and risk of dementia: the Three-City cohort study. Neurology. 2007 Nov 13;69(20):1921-30