Fish Oil Supplements Protect Against Alzheimer's


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A new study suggests that fish oil might be one of the most effective preventative measures against developing Alzheimer's disease, for those who aren't genetically inclined to develop the common form of dementia.

There is presently no cure for Alzheimer's; it is a progressive disease and eventually leads to death. It is most often diagnosed in those over 65 years of age, and is projected to affect 1 in 85 globally by 2050. It is presently the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

Researchers from Rhode Island Hospital studied three groups of adults ages 55-90, utilizing neuropsychological tests and brain magnetic resonance imaging biannually. The participants in the study, all part of the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), comprised 229 adults with no signs of the disease; 397 who were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment; and 193 with Alzheimer’s. The ADNI study ran from 2003 until 2010.

Results showed that adults who had not displayed any symptoms of the onset of Alzheimer's saw a significantly less decline in cognitive function and brain shrinkage than those who weren't taking the substance. Cognitive decline was measured using the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-cog) and the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE).

Though, researchers pointed that those who are genetically predisposed to developing Alzheimer’s, carriers of the APOE (apolipoprotein E) gene, might not be able to metabolize DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), the fatty acid in fish oil thought to promote cognitive benefits. Yet, taking fish oil is suggested regardless, as it might prevent the onset of Alzheimer's from being triggered late in life.

The most widely available dietary source of DHA comes from cold-water, oily fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines.

Doctor Andrew Weil explains some fish oil facts:

The Hodge Twins reveal that a man who doesn't take fish oil is pretty much a female, but likewise advise not to take fish oil:

Aside from cognitive benefits, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have been shown to help in preventing heart disease. Other studies have revealed that fish oil might be beneficial to those who suffer from clinical depression, anxiety, cancer, psoriasis and macular degeneration, although benefits have yet to be proven.

Image via Wikimedia Commons