For years, studies have focused on the elusive solution to Alzheimer’s prevention. Although there’s no cure for the terrible disease, recent studies have found that omega-3 may be the answer to making it less likely.
Fighting Alzheimer’s with Fish
Countless studies have searched for ways of preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia and have found that fish, and the omega-3 fatty acids it contains, could be the key. However, it has been difficult to find a definitive answer. Despite decades spent looking into the subject, results have been mixed.
One study found that eating fish twice a day could actually reduce the risk of dementia for older people by 41%. More than 2,000 seniors took part in the study over the course of five years. Meanwhile, another study that followed 5,395 people for ten years found there was no connection between consuming omega-3 and preventing dementia! That said, newer research has had more positive outcomes. Scientists from the Fatty Acid Research Institute (FARI) have backed the idea that those who incorporate high amounts of omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) into their diet, such as through fish and nuts, are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
“Our study is in line with that of Tan et al., who reported cross-sectional associations with RBC DHA on cognitive performance and brain volume measurements (with higher DHA being associated with beneficial outcomes) in the same cohort as studied here,” said William S. Harris, the President of FARI and senior author of the study “Red Blood Cell DHA is Inversely Associated with Risk of Incident Alzheimer’s Disease and All-Cause Dementia.”
Omega-3 DHA Linked to Alzheimer’s Prevention
Dr. Harris also mentions that several generations have already proven the effect of omega-3 on Alzheimer’s. “Schaefer et al. reported that participants in the top quartile of plasma phosphatidylcholine DHA experienced a significant 47% reduction in the risk of developing all-cause dementia compared with those with lower levels,” Harris explains. “Similar findings a generation apart in a similar genetic pool provide considerable confirmation of this DHA-dementia relationship.” In particular, those carrying the APOE4 gene should pay close attention to omega-3 DHA in their bodies, as it doubles the probability of developing dementia as they grow older.
In the latest research, Dr. Harris and his team selected 1,490 people 65 years or older who didn’t have dementia to be a part of their study. Then, they examined the participants’ blood to find out what DHA levels they had. The team also found out which of the participants carried the APOE4 genetic mutation. At the end of the study, they compared the DHA levels of people who ended up developing Alzheimer’s with those who did not. The outcome proved that previous studies were right — participants with high omega-3 DHA levels had a 49% lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s. In addition, people with high DHA levels throughout their life were estimated to live almost five years longer than those who did not.
Apart from being healthier, finding a way to decrease dementia and Alzheimer’s cases could save a lot of money. Currently, the cost of treating such diseases in the United States is estimated to be about $355 billion.