More evidence that fish oil may help fight Alzheimer’s came last week with publication of a small, pilot study that suggested omega-3’s defend the brain against the disease.
Last year, a Oregon Health & Science University study found that a combo of omega-3 fatty acids and alpha lipoic acid seemed to slow cognitive and functional decline over a year among Alzheimer’s patients. The new research, published online ahead of print by the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for American Biology, supported those findings.
“We’ve known for a long time that omega-3 fatty acids and some antioxidants can be beneficial to people with a wide range of health problems, as well as protective for healthy people,” Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, told alzheimersnewstoday.com. “Now, we know that the effects of these supplements may extend to Alzheimer’s disease as well. Although these supplements are considered to be generally safe and are very easy to obtain, full-scale clinical trials are necessary to verify the findings of this research and to identify who might benefit the most.”
In the small-scale study of nine patients, researchers found that among patients with early signs of Alzheimer’s fish oil supplementation seemed to reduce brain inflammation and amyloid-beta protein buildup, two conditions that can lead to dementia. The study highlights the need for more research to determine the potential of omega-3’s to fight off the neurodegenerative disease, which currently affects more than 5 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health. As the risk of the disease increases with age, this number is expected to climb as the American population grows older.