Are You Getting the Right Fish Oil to Stop Alzheimer’s?
It’s no longer a mystery how much fish oil you need to dramatically reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.
In a groundbreaking new study, researchers at Tufts University measured the blood levels of omega-3 fish oil in nearly 900 elderly men and women, who were then tracked for nearly 9 years. The remarkable conclusion directly and clearly identified one specific component of omega-3 fish oil as protecting against dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Americans with the highest blood concentrations of an omega-3 fatty acid called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) were only half as apt to develop dementia and only 40% as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as those with lower blood levels of DHA. The other major fatty acid in fish oil called EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) showed no effect on dementia or Alzheimer’s.
How Much? Researchers figured how much DHA subjects consumed to reach the highest blood levels so protective in the study. Remarkably, it was only 180 mg DHA a day. That’s less than the 280 mg in the daily dose in our recommended Omega-T Fish Oil, and the amount in about 3 servings of fish a week, although it depends on type of fish; salmon is especially high in DHA.
That it takes so little DHA for such a huge impact on the aging brain is good news, because this dose is easily attainable in a couple of fish oil capsules. Some experts had thought that an anti-Alzheimer’s dose needed to be much higher. However, researchers say it is unclear if a higher DHA dose might lower the risk even more. The “optimal” anti-Alzheimer’s DHA dose has not yet been determined.
It’s no surprise DHA may help ward off Alzheimer’s. DHA in our brain cells decreases with age. In animal tests. a DHA deficiency leads to poor memory and stunted brain cell synapses. And a high DHA intake decreases formation of a toxin called beta amyloid regarded as a cause of Alzheimer’s. A high fish diet also lowers Alzheimer’s risk.
(Source: Schaefer, EJ, Arch Neurol, vol 63, Nov 2006:1545-50)
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Article updated on: November 19th, 2006