Paleo Diet News: Omega-3 Hope for Alzheimer’s Disease?

Wild atlantic salmon - rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

I was interested to read the results of this recent study, which looked in detail at how a long-term omega-3 fatty acid supplementation regime affected the brains of rats and mice.  Whilst the positive effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on “impaired cognitive function” is well documented, there have been few reliable long-term human studies of such a regime’s ability to combat a condition as serious as Alzheimer’s disease.   What studies there have been on omega-3 supplementation to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s, have failed to show a benefit - but none have focused on supplementation over a long period of time.

Whilst the results of animal studies can’t necessarily be assumed to hold true for human beings (we may be animals, but we don’t have the brains of rats or mice) this review at least gives hope that there could be a benefit if the co-factors are right; and it seems to indicate that - for long-term benefits to be achieved - supplementation has to be a long-term commitment.

In the case of the rats and mice in the study, supplementation occurred for upwards of 10% of their life span. The results were clear:

  • Reduced amyloid-ß deposition.  Amyloid-ß is a protein, the deposition of which in the human brain is known to be associated with Alzheimer’s (Alzheimer’s patients tend to have more of it, but the causal linkages are unclear);
  • Improved cognitive function.  A marker of Alzheimer’s is a progressive decline in cognitive function.
  • Reduced brain cell loss.  Loss of brain cells is a key feature of Alzheimer’s.

The study shows that, in these animals at least, omega-3 supplementation combated key processes in Alzheimer’s disease and improved brain functioning.  Whether such results could be achieved for humans is not clear, but it could perhaps be taken as a strong indication that maintaining a sufficient level of omega-3 fats in the diet (particularly in relation to pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats) can be particularly useful for brain health.

Related brain health articles from Paleo Diet News:

Alzheimer’s Disease and the Paleo Diet

How To Boost Brain Health on the Paleo Diet

Foods Your Heart (and Brain?) Will Love

The Paleo Diet and Migraines

Paleo Diet: Essential Supplements?


Where do you get your omega-3s?  Which foods, which supplements?  Share your thoughts below - and if you found this article useful, please share with your paleo pals!

Brian Cormack Carr is a life and career coach, charity CEO, writer, and advocate of a real foods diet.
His home on the web is where you will find more articles, his free Lifecrafting Newsletter, and information about his online career-creation programme
You can follow Brian on Twitter: @cormackcarr


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