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Omega 3 and Alzheimer's

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 27 Jul 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Alzheimer's; Fish Oils; Oily Fish; Omega

Omega 3 has been known for a long time to have a beneficial effect on health, particularly that concerned with the heart, blood and circulation as it is good for assisting in the breakdown of fibrin which contributes to scar and blood clot formation. Along with these benefits, there is also evidence that omega 3 can help in those suffering from anxiety disorders, depression

What Is Omega 3?

Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that is valuable to health for a number of reasons. It is not made by the body so must be consumed within a healthy diet.There are three key types of these fatty acids, alpha-linoleic acid, known as ALA, eicosapentaenoic acid, known as EPA and docosahexaenoic acid, DHA. These are present in the food products and ALA is converted by the body into more easily used EPA and DHA.

Sources Of Omega 3

The best source of omega 3 is oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon and sardines, soya products, walnuts and leafy green vegetables.Food manufacturers have also realised the marketable properties of this substance and have begun to add it to many products including cereals, juices and spreads. There are in fact, several ways of ensuring that a healthy level of omega 3 is consumed in the diet.

Caution must be exercised in pregnant women and children who eat a diet rich in oily fish as these products may contain some metallic elements that can endanger health in those who are vulnerable.

What Is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is a disease affecting nearly half a million people in the UK. A form of dementia, symptoms can include memory loss, mood swings, poor concentration and sudden forgetfulness. It is a progressive disease and symptoms become greater as time passes.

Causes of the illness have not been fully determined as yet though genetics, age and diet are all thought to play a role. Scientists are however aware that those with Alzheimer’s seem to have a lack of some of the many chemicals present in the brain.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s but there are drugs available to help slow down the progression of the disease and lessen some of the symptoms.Suffering from Alzheimer’s can cause a high level of emotional distress for both the sufferer and those around them as the disease progresses.

How May It Help Prevent Alzheimer’s?

It is believed that omega 3 may be extremely valuable in the prevention of Alzheimer’s as initial studies seems to show that it can help protect the brain from significant memory and brain cell damage which are very similar to those seen in sufferers of Alzheimer’s.Most studies so far have been carried out experimentally using animals, but scientists seem confident in the results so far.

Further and extensive research will be needed in order to determine the effects on human subjects and to discover the most effective dosage and method of administration before it becomes a routine prevention method in those carrying the Alzheimer’s gene.

Although research is in its infancy, initial studies have shown that omega 3 consumption could have a positive effect in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. Scientists continue to test this theory and hope that eventually a preventative medication may be available to those who are more at risk of developing the disease.

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