2016

Fish Oil and Alzheimer’s

 

 

Based on statistical studies, every minute a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It is a terrible and sad disease, as it robs a person’s memories, other cognitive abilities, and eventually loss in bodily functions as the disease progresses. As with any other debilitating illness, not only is this difficult for the person afflicted, but truly heartbreaking for family and loved ones—just like in the movie, “Notebook”, a devoted husband staring into the eyes of his wife of many years, but only to see eyes staring back devoid of any emotion because she doesn’t remember him.

Continuous studies are being done in order to find an effective treatment or even a cure for Alzheimer’s. It is unfortunate that the quest is not yet over; however, there have been some progress. Based on new studies, it has been found that fish oil has the ability to prevent Alzheimer’s.

Tests that spanned up to four years revealed that taking fish oil supplements daily is associated with a substantial decrease in cognitive decline and brain atrophy compared to those who didn’t take the supplements. Furthermore, performance on standard tests on memory and thinking abilities over time was better. There was also less brain shrinkage in important areas of the brain, which are the cerebral cortex and hippocampus—areas of the brain that form and retain memories.

DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) is the main ingredient in fish oil, which is an omega-3 fatty acid found in cold-water fatty fish such as yellowfin tuna, salmon, swordfish, trout, mackerel, and more. According to the World Health Organization, it recommends a daily intake of 0.3 to 0.5 grams.

Buyers should beware of fish oil supplements that they purchase, however. Investigations have shown many supplements do not live up to what is printed on the product labels, as some have raised the amount of omega-3 on the labels by 30 percent and have DHA levels 14 percent less than what is advertised. This is a problem since FDA does not consider fish oil as a drug, but rather as a supplement food, and is therefore not regulated.

Fish oil may not be the cure to the disease, but it warrants further studies as it shows positive effects on the brain, and aiding in preventing the brain from succumbing to Alzheimer’s. It seems experts are on the right path.

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