New findings on fish oil’s mechanism against Alzheimer’s

Here’s a Jan. 2, 2008 post on the www.sciencedaily.com website reporting on new findings on the mechsnism of action of fish oil as a deterrent to Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Greg Cole, professor of medicine and neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and associate director of UCLA’s Alzheimer Disease Research Center, and his colleagues report that the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in fish oil increases the production of LR11, a protein that is found at reduced levels in Alzheimer’s patients and which is known to destroy the protein that forms the “plaques” associated with the disease.

The plaques are deposits of a protein called beta amyloid that is thought to be toxic to neurons in the brain, leading to Alzheimer’s. Since having high levels of LR11 prevents the toxic plaques from being made, low levels in patients are believed to be a factor in causing the disease.

The researchers examined the effects of fish oil, or its component DHA, in multiple biological systems and administered the oil or fatty acid by diet and by adding it directly to neurons grown in the laboratory.

“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,” said Cole, who is also associate director of the Geriatric Research Center at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

To show that the benefits of DHA were not limited to nonhuman animal cells, the researchers also confirmed a direct impact of DHA on human neuronal cells in culture as well. Thus, high levels of DHA leading to abundant LR11 seem to protect against Alzheimer’s, Cole said, while low LR11 levels lead to formation of the amyloid plaques.

 Quite an interesting supplement, fish oil. The first focus on its health benefits was directed at heart health and cardiovascular concerns. However, more recently there has been a lot of investigative energy devoted to the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on cognitive function and mood.

See, for example, the posts on “Depression” on this blog, which detail some of the recent findings about fish oil’s potential for addressing mood.

The New York Buyers’ Club stocks

DHA Max (Jarrow). See description here.

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