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The Benefits of Fish Oil in Alzheimer’s Disease

UCLA researchers claim that fish oil, whether ingested by pill or diet (eating fatty fish like salmon, herring, tuna) is an effective deterrent against Alzheimer’s, either preventing the disease or delaying its onset. Researchers have long supported this belief, but UCLA has the scientific evidence. The omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in fish oil increases the production of LR11, which is known to destroy the protein that forms the characteristic plaques associated with the disease. LR11 is found in low levels in Alzheimer's patients. Therefore low levels of LR11 can predict Alzheimer’s.

According to Professor Greg Cole, "We found that even low doses of DHA increased the levels of LR11 in rat neurons, while dietary DHA increased LR11 in brains of rats or older mice that had been genetically altered to develop Alzheimer's disease.” In the lab human neuronal cells also showed this pattern when fish oil was directly added to the test tube. He also explained that years of research have shown that DHA is the most abundant essential fatty acid in the brain and that it is critical to fetal and infant brain development.

Other studies from alternative medicine have linked low levels of DHA in the brain to cognitive impairment and have shown that lower levels may increase oxidative stress in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. Don’t forget that for many years the American Heart Association has also identified the beneficial role of DHA in preventing cardiovascular disease. And so far, brain smart is linked to heart smart. Looks like grandma was right all along without all the statistical studies: “Fish is brain food.”

The question remains: How much fish oil should you take? The amount has not yet been determined since it depends on your diet. For example, people in Mediterranean countries eat more fish than Americans do, so they might need less supplementation while Americans will probably need a higher dosage. It’s definitely a good idea to eat more fatty fish as a source of lean protein. Speak to your doctor about a daily dosage of fish oil capsules.

Currently the National Institute of Health is conducting a big clinical trial administering DHA to patients who have Alzheimer’s to see if DHA can remove plaques and improve the prognosis. Obviously, drug companies are not motivated to conduct trials as there will be no need for expensive patented pills. People can simply eat more fatty fish or take already existing, inexpensive fish oil supplements.

This advice sounds like a no-brainer! Feed your brain.
For more information on caregiving for Alzheimer's read my book, Changing Habits:The Caregivers' Total Workout. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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