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Omega-3s Benefit Brain Proteins Linked to Alzheimer's

According to a recent study published online in Neurology, Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish oil extract containing DHA and EPA from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel, may provide more benefits for elderly people suffering from Alzheimer's.

Researchers for the study examined the health and diet of 1,219 people, 65 years of age, who did not have dementia. The individuals were part of the Washington Heights/Hamilton Heights Columbia Aging Project.

Data show that consuming one gram of omega-3 fatty acids each day (equivalent to eating about half a filet of salmon) is associated with 20% to 30% lower blood beta-amyloid levels. According to the study authors, in Alzheimer's disease, those protein fragments are thought to accumulate in the brain and form plaque. The plaque contributes to nerve cell damage in the brain and leads to the symptoms of Alzheimer's.

The brain itself is made up mostly of fatty acids; the most predominant, making up 40% of these fatty acids, is Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the other is Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). EPA and DHA are referred to as omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs). Omega-3 EFAs have been found to have significant health benefits, especially for the brain.

Other studies have reported that long-term treatment of EPA improved an age-related reduction in blood flow in the brain and increased glucose metabolism.

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