Alzheimer’s is probably one of the diseases that has most plagued scientists and researchers around the world, without a doubt it is a condition that is considered a scientific enigma And it’s no secret to say that everyone wants to find a cure. There is up-to-date data in which it is endorsed that close to 5.7 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, is considered the most common form of dementia. It is well known that the quality of food plays a determining role, in recent months the benefits of consuming omega-3 fatty acids have drawn the attention of experts.
Essentially, Alzheimer’s disrupts communication between the brain’s tens of billions of neurons, the electrical and chemical signals it sends to other parts of the body. Being one of the most aggressive progressive diseases, it first progresses by destroying neurons associated with memory and then moves to the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for language, reasoning, and social behavior. It subsequently interrupts the functions of life, leading to death.
Although scientists have not yet completed a cure, they have found that there are some foods that play an important role in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. That is why numerous dietary recommendations have come to light in recent years and one of the most relevant is associated with the benefits of Omega-3 consumption. In fact, there are results from numerous laboratory investigations and population studies, which support the preventive potential of omega-3 fatty acids.
Such is the case of a recent article published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, in which researchers found that in patients with high levels of omega-3s, blood flow is increased in specific areas of the brain, thereby improving their function. . In addition, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown anti-amyloid, anti-tau and anti-inflammatory actions in the brain. Some experts have spoken about this, such is the case of George Perry’s statements; Dean and Professor of Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Who stated: “This study is an important advance in demonstrating the value of nutritional intervention for brain health.”
The article was published in the journal EBioMedicine. The researchers recruited 33 participants who had risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease but who did not have cognitive impairment. Important fact: all participants had a family history of the disease, a sedentary lifestyle, and a diet low in fatty fish. Of the group of participants, 15 of them carried a genetic variant called APOE4, which is related to inflammation in the brain and increases the risk of Alzheimer’s by a factor of four or more; the other 18 subjects were not carriers.
What did the study consist of? The participants were randomly assigned to a treatment group or a control group. Members of the treatment group were asked to take supplements containing more than 2 grams of an omega-3 called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Members of the control group took placebos every day for the same period. Participants in both groups were also asked to take daily B vitamins, which help the body process omega-3s.
The researchers who led the study collected samples of blood plasma and cerebrospinal fluid, an indicator of whether omega-3s were reaching the brain, from the participants at the beginning and again at the end of the study period. The scientists analyzed the levels of two omega-3 fatty acids: DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a powerful anti-inflammatory that the body gets from a small portion of its DHA intake.
The researchers found that at the end of six months, the participants who took omega-3 supplements had a 200% more DHA in the blood compared to those who took placebos. This data is relevant considering that in Alzheimer’s patients a decrease in DHA levels has been observed in the areas of the brain associated with cognition and memory: the hippocampus and the frontal cortex. Therefore increasing the consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, especially those that contain DHA (such as fish oils) is associated with great benefits for restore brain and cognitive function.
As an aside, it is worth mentioning that omega-3 is a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are important for optimal health. So that There are 3 primary omega-3 fatty acids: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) commonly found in fish and shellfish oils, as well as α-linoleic acid (ALA) found in some vegetable oils.
Considering that humans cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids naturally, it is clear that they need to be consumed through diet. And for the brain in DHA, it is the most important and most abundant fatty acid; it is necessary for mental health, synaptic transmission, and membrane integrity.
The truth is that there are other relevant studies in which it has been shown: omega-3 supplementation can reduce the overall levels of beta-amyloid in the brain. However, it is important to mention that most of the scientific references are based on long-term studies. Therefore: following a diet with foods rich in omega-3 and betting on the consumption of supplements, it is a good measure against the development of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementias. Especially as prevention, that is before advanced disease progression.
Also we cannot forget that it is a basic nutrient for good cardiovascular health, is a great ally to combat depression and anxiety. They improve physical and mental performance. Bet on following a style of eating inspired by the Mediterranean diet, integrating the consumption of blue fish and other shellfish, olive oil and vegetables, nuts and seeds.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.